|Type of medicine
||To treat leukaemia (cancer of the white blood cells)
Mercaptopurine is used to treat leukaemia and works by stopping cancer cells from multiplying.
Before taking mercaptopurine
Before taking mercaptopurine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you know you have an inherited deficiency of an enzyme called thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT).
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines. It is particularly important that your doctor knows if you are taking allopurinol.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to take mercaptopurine
- Mercaptopurine is prescribed by a hospital specialist.
- Your dose will be worked out according to your weight.
- Before beginning your treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Take mercaptopurine exactly as you have been directed. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water.
- If you forget to take a dose and you do not remember until the next day, leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It is important that you do not become pregnant while you are taking mercaptopurine. If this affects you, ask your doctor for advice and make sure you use effective contraception.
- While you are taking mercaptopurine do not have any immunisations (vaccinations) without talking to your doctor first. Mercaptopurine lowers your body's resistance and there is a chance that you may get an infection from some vaccines.
- Keep your regular doctor's appointments and appointments for blood tests so your progress can be monitored.
- If you are having any treatment like an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking mercaptopurine.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with mercaptopurine.
- Any unwanted tablets must be disposed of in a special way - ask your local pharmacy for advice.
Can mercaptopurine cause problems ?
Mercaptopurine can lower the number of white cells in your blood, increasing the chance of you getting an infection. You should take certain precautions to reduce the risk of infection - if possible, avoid people with infections and let your doctor know if you think you are getting a sore throat or if you have a high temperature.
Your doctor will have discussed with you the possibility of unwanted side-effects of treatment with mercaptopurine. Let your doctor know if you experience any of the following or any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine:
||What can I do if I experience this
|Feeling or being sick
||Let your doctor know about this as you can be given an anti-sickness medicine
||Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush 2-3 times daily and use a mouth rinse frequently
How to store mercaptopurine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
- Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else has taken an overdose of this medicine go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
- This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
- Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
- If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.