As a form of chemotherapy, Purinethol® (mercaptopurine) is prescribed to treat a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow called acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL). This drug is used for the maintenance treatment of ALL, in combination with other treatments. It is not effective at preventing ALL from spreading.
It comes as a tablet that is taken once a day. It is generally recommended to take your dose in the evening and on an empty stomach. Side effects are common and may include low levels of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
If your healthcare provider recommends chemotherapy treatment with Purinethol, he or she will need information on your medical history and any other medications, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. You should also talk to your healthcare provider before starting Purinethol if you are pregnant or have any allergies.
(To learn more about this chemotherapy drug, click Purinethol. This Web resource contains information on how the drug works, what to expect during treatment, and other important warnings and precautions.)
Mercaptopurine. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2012. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed October 25, 2012.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 25, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed October 25, 2012.
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