As a type of chemotherapy drug, mercaptopurine (Purinethol®) is prescribed to treat a certain type of bone and blood marrow cancer called acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL). It comes as a tablet that is taken by mouth once a day, preferably in the evening and on an empty stomach.
This drug belongs to a group of medicines called purine analogs. The active ingredient in the medication is mercaptopurine, which is also sometimes referred to as 6-mercaptopurine or simply 6-MP. It works by disrupting the replication process of cancer cells.
When undergoing chemotherapy therapy with mercaptopurine, you should understand the potential risks associated with this medicine. For example, this medication may not be safe for use in people with certain allergies or those taking certain medications or herbal supplements. Also, people who have kidney disease, liver disease, or other medical issues should talk to their healthcare provider about whether mercaptopurine is an appropriate medicine for their situation.
(Click Mercaptopurine for a closer look at this drug, including more details on how it works and dosing instructions.)