I have had one GI dr say my risk of cancer is increased and that is why I am taking folic acid (to protect my intestines) - I had another GI dr (who I feel is a much better qualified dr) tell me that the risk of cancer is increased but not by a crazy amount.
I don't know if I should even look at any more side effects of 6mp since I have issues taking it to begin with but was just reading on Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt but still:
"Mercaptopurine can lower the body's ability to fight off infection. Those taking mercaptopurine should get permission from a doctor in order to receive immunizations and vaccinations. It is also recommended that while on the drug one should avoid those who have recently received oral polio vaccine.
This drug is traditionally not recommended during pregnancy but this issue has been debated and current evidence indicates that pregnant women on the drug show no increase in fetal abnormalities. However, women receiving mercaptopurine during the first trimester of pregnancy have an increased incidence of abortion. Davis et al 1999 found that mercaptopurine, compared to methotrexate, was ineffective as a single-agent abortifacient; every woman in the mercaptopurine arm of the study had fetal cardiac activity at follow-up (two weeks later) and was given a suction abortion.
Mercaptopurine causes changes to chromosomes in animals and humans. In mice these changes have given rise to lethal mutations. Therefore the drug has the potential to be cancer causing in humans."
I am going to bump this in the 6mp thread. Anyone who has had any experience with this, particularly the "not recommended for pregnancy" and "the drug has the potential to be cancer causing" and "changes in chromosomes".
Thank you, beave, for the best answer I've heard on this issue. As I approach 50, and some days feel like I'm 110, I've been wondering the exact same thing. I've never been able to find out anything about the life expectancy of Crohn's (other than it's not 'terminal' - just tell that to your life insurance agent and see where it gets you! haha!). I've always wanted to meet someone in their 60's or 70's who has had Crohns since their teenage years, just to ask them how they have dealt with it, but no such luck so far...
I agree that the treatments are improving rapidly, so my personal hope is that there will be a permanent fix before I hit 60, and feel like 120!...
Here are two recent articles on mortality in Crohn's Disease with links for you if you REALLY want to know this stuff. Basically, the bottom line is yes, statistically your life is going to be shorter, mortality in CD is highest in the first 5 years after diagnosis, surgery is risky business, your life expectancy is shortened considerably if you were diagnosed before age 20 and prednisone, narcotics and moderate-severe CD are associated with severe infections more than remicade use. Guess that explains why no one wants to sell you life insurance.
Patricia (son, 11, CD, Humira, 6-MP, Omeprazole, Miralax, supplements)
Increased Infections and Mortality with Certain Crohn's Therapies
Although mortality rates are similar between therapies for Crohn's disease, the latest Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology finds that prednisone is associated with increased mortality, and infliximab increases the risk of serious infection....
The team found that the mortality rates were similar for infliximab- and non-infliximab-treated patients. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, only prednisone was associated with an increased mortality risk. The team showed an increased risk for infection with infliximab use, using unadjusted analysis. However, multivariate logistic regression analysis suggested that infliximab was not an independent predictor of serious infections. Factors independently associated with serious infections included prednisone use, narcotic analgesic use and moderate-to-severe disease activity. – Newsfeed from GastroHep.com
Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology; 2006: 4(5): 621-30
Meta-Analysis:Mortality in Crohn's Disease
The risk of dying for patients with Crohn's disease is over 50% higher than would be expected for someone in the general population of the same age and sex. This is reflected in a recent long-term study of prognosis for patients with Crohn's disease in Cardiff, which showed reduced life expectancy for all patients, especially those diagnosed before the age of 20. Overall life expectancy for men diagnosed with Crohn's disease in the Cardiff cohort was 77.3 years and 79.0 years for women, those diagnosed before the age of 20 had a median age at death of 64 years. Life expectancy of the general population over the study period was 71 for males and 77 for females..
There is a greatly increased mortality risk for patients who have been diagnosed less than 5 years,[11,32,33,41] the majority of whom die due to surgical complications. In future this may need to be reflected in consultations with newly diagnosed patients. Patients who die later have a high incidence of gastrointestinal cancer and renal disease. Mortality is also reported to be highest in patients diagnosed under 20 years old[32,33,41] and women diagnosed before the age of 50 years. Smoking is associated with Crohn's disease and the excess mortality seen in these studies may be partly because of this habit. In a recent study in Florence patients with Crohn's disease were shown to have a significantly raised SMR for gastrointestinal disease, all cancers and specifically lung cancer (4.49, 2.10 and 4.00 respectively); 70% of these patients were current or former smokers. Consequently, smoking is a confounding factor when analyzing mortality in Crohn's disease, however, a nationwide British study that adjusted for this characteristic still showed patients to have a higher SMR than the general population.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007;25(8):861-870. ©2007 Blackwell Publishing