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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 176
   Posted 3/26/2008 6:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I have Crohn's Disease, and will soon have to start taking 6MP (Mercaptopurine) which is an immunosuppressant.  I'm a bit scared to take such a potent medication, and am wondering if anyone out there has taken it.  I'd appreciate any feedback you can give me about any side effects you've experienced; and if the medication has helped.  Also, do you know if once you're on it (and it's helping), do you have to stay on it for life?
Thanks for any input!

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1220
   Posted 3/26/2008 6:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to the Forum! I haven't taken this med, but I've read lots of posts discussing it and many other meds. I suggest you read though previous posts. I think you can use the search function for keywords. Welcome again!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1340
   Posted 3/26/2008 6:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I was on 6mp for several years and in remission within 6mos (still am). 6mp was my wonder drug. I had no side effects and felt great while on it. I went off to have a baby and I am still doing great.

If you take it, make sure to keep up with your blood work. There are others here with different stories, but I hope it works for you as well as it did for me.
Currently in remission!

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 298
   Posted 3/26/2008 7:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I was on 6mp for about six months and had to come off of it because it affected my liver. I had to get my blood drawn every Monday because my liver enzymes were way too elevated. 6mp did not put me in remission and made me very fatigued and nauseous. I also started getting car sick if I sat in the passenger seat of a car.

I hope it works for you! Just like anything else, it all depends on the individual. For me it didn't work, but that doesn't mean it won't work for you ;) Just make sure your doc monitors your lab work to make sure the medicine doesn't cause liver and pancreatic probs.

Beachy Mom
New Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 3/26/2008 7:14 PM (GMT -7)   
After a year long bout with Remicade and 6MP and then trying Humira ( severe Allergic reaction)and the 6MP- I am left just taking the 6MP. I try to take mine at night before bed with a snack(crackers or something) as it still makes me sick to my stomach. The Imuran made me much sicker. After vomitting from 8pm - 4 am several times I vowed never to take Imuran again. So far 6MP has worked except for the nausea.
Just "Beachy"

Beachy Mom
New Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 3/26/2008 7:15 PM (GMT -7)   
After a year long bout with Remicade and 6MP and then trying Humira ( severe Allergic reaction)and the 6MP- I am left just taking the 6MP. I try to take mine at night before bed with a snack(crackers or something) as it still makes me sick to my stomach. The Imuran made me much sicker. After vomitting from 8pm - 4 am several times I vowed never to take Imuran again. So far 6MP has worked except for the nausea.
Just "Beachy"

Mormor Vicky
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 684
   Posted 3/26/2008 7:27 PM (GMT -7)   

My warning to you is to please have your blood checked regularly.  I was only on it for 3 months.  My doctor would check my blood but I don't think as often as he should.  When I started having a reaction to it, my doctor said, "Well, all medication has side effects, even aspirin.  You'll just have to live with them."  2 weeks later I was in isolation with bone-marrow failure for 11 days.  He is no longer my doctor of course. 


I don't want to scare you and what happened to me is very rare, but please make sure your doctor is pro-active and stays on top of your treatment.  I know this drug can be a wonder drug and best of luck to you.

Vicky / 48 years old
DX'd with Crohn's during a resection August 2006
DX'd with Steriod induced Diabetes November 2006
Considered in Clinical remission but have minor signs of disease activity
Daughter (27) also has Crohn's since she was 12.
Currently on 4000mg of Pentasa only for Crohn's
No longer able to take 6-MP because of Bone-Marrow Suppression
Cymbalta, Metformin, Lipitor

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3200
   Posted 3/26/2008 7:34 PM (GMT -7)   
While 6mp works well for lots of people, I just would like you to be aware of the fact that it can cause pancreatitis, in some
instances. So please get you blood checked, and watch out for an increase in triglycerides. This can be a warning sign.
Other than that I wish you luck...

Too many years with CD
Two bowel resections, several obstructions.

Laughter is the brush that sweeps the cobwebs from our hearts

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 176
   Posted 3/26/2008 7:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much to all of you who responded so quickly to my question about 6MPs. You have all been so helpful! I am a new member to this forum (It's the first time I've joined any forum), and find it an exciting way to communicate with others. It's great to be able to obtain information about others' first-hand experiences.

BTW, I am a 53 year old female, and have had Crohn's for about 7 years (but only recently accepted that I really have it). I tried Pentasa, and then Entocort, but was allergic to both. That's why my next step is trying 6MP.

Thanks again, and hope to hear more feedback.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 3/26/2008 8:51 PM (GMT -7)   
I've been on 6MP (50 mg per day) for four years, with very few noticeable side effects. It has been instrumental in eliminating a stricture caused by inflammation of my terminal ileum--although I still have the usual uncomfortable Crohn's symptoms. I have blood work done every 3 months. It's been a good drug for me and has helped me avoid additional abdominal surgery and other drugs that I don't want to have to take (like prednisone). We all have to figure out what works. Although it hasn't been effective (or has had prohibitive side effects) for some members of this forum, it's worked for me, and I'm very grateful that it has. I hope it works for you, too. Good luck!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 3/27/2008 4:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Five years 6mp, no side effects, disease activity minimal and on last scope in December the doc said he really had trouble finding any area to biopsym since things looked so clean. I would say that for every post here about a problem with 6mp (and there are some, though they seem to affect only a very small percentage of patients) there are dozens showing substantial success. The best thing about the drug seems to be that even for those who have side effects, simply stopping the medication almost always resolves them quickly.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 3/27/2008 5:42 AM (GMT -7)   
I was only on 6mp for 4 weeks - as i developed hives all along my lower back - but I recommend taking it at night before you go to sleep (as others here suggested to me!) It did make me feel nauseous sometimes, but it mostly happened soon after I took it, so I was able to sleep through the sicky feeling.

I'm frustrated that I had a reaction to 6mp - as my blood work was good each week and I felt GREAT.. my tummy was quiet, my appetite increased, pain and cramping and bleeding - everything just slowly went away.. and now im back in limbo..

Much luck!
25 yrs - female : diagnosed with Crohn's 11/29/07

"i believe - you can keep going long after you can't"

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 294
   Posted 3/28/2008 9:58 AM (GMT -7)   

I have been on 6 mp since november...and it gets better everyday! I feel better everyday. Do not be afraid of the drug...get your blood work...give it time to work...The deciding factor for me was okay I can have a bad reaction...it wont kill me and it could not be any worse than the pain and discomfort Im already in...On top of that any adverse side affects that occur will be reversed just by simply stopping the medication....

Another point was that there is a real possibility that you could achieve full remission with no symptoms what so ever for 5 years or longer...Wow to be normal again....LOL

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 176
   Posted 3/28/2008 10:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks again so much for all of your great and helpful responses! My mind is now at ease. I know some of the potential risks, but am feeling much more comfortable that through frequent bloodwork, any problems will show up quickly.

I will not start taking 6MP for at least another month or so. I need to have cataract surgery and want to give my eyes the best possible chance of healing (with no infections) before I start 6MP.

Thanks again! And good luck to all of you too.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2004
Total Posts : 158
   Posted 3/29/2008 1:20 PM (GMT -7)   


I was on 6mp for 7 months before getting pregnant a year ago and then for some reason started getting really bad headaches and extreme fatigue when taking it while pregnant so we stopped it. I am now back on it again and have been for about 2 months. All I can say is that I have found the drug for me! Both times I started the 6mp I was also on the predinsone and for the first time ever I didn't get sick while tapering and actually didn't have to go back on pred. one month later. I now only take 6mp and haven't felt this good since before I even knew I had crohns. The only side effect I notice is a little fatigue but I will take it! And as far as the headaches, they went away the very same day I stopped the 6mp. I get blood work about every 2-3 months and everything is fine. I take 100mg.

Good luck!



Diagnosed with UC in July of 2003 then diagnosed with Crohns in August of 2006.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 330
   Posted 3/29/2008 7:33 PM (GMT -7)   
As everyone else says -just be sure to regularily get bloodwork done - and any fever, extreme nausea, or any other symptom -don't hesitate to consult your doctor. I can't take 6-MP - I found out the hard way when it wiped out my immune system and gave me hepititis. I had bad medical advise and continued taking it while these symptoms occured (ER doctor felt I was having gallbladder attack because I'm fat, female and forty), and became extremely sick before the real cause was detected. Most people have great success though.

Good luck to you,


Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 176
   Posted 3/29/2008 8:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for your advice, Bev. So sorry to hear you had such a bad reaction! I've had allergic reactions when trying to take Pentasa, and then Entocort, and kept taking them for awhile hoping it was just a coincidence or temporary sensitivity. I'll definitely be "alert" to any bad reactions from the 6mp, and already "warned" my gastro. that I'll be in regular contact with him about any bad side effects.

Thanks for your input!

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 43
   Posted 4/2/2008 11:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Has anyone ever heard of a sunburn like rash as a reaction to the 6mp.  I recently had a serious attack of some sort and the doc's dont agree on what caused it.  It started with a low grade temp and then the rash.  I stopped taking the 6mp, thinking it may be a reaction as that is what my primary doc thougt.  A week later ended up in the ER with severe joint pain and swelling.  The 2 doctors still dont agree on the cause.
I had been on 50mg of 6mp for about 4-5 months will pretty good results.  After blood tests showed the level as non-theraputic, my GI upped it to 75mg.  about a month and a half later, I had the rash.  I may also have been exposed to the flu around the same time and did get sick with a flu like bug about 8 days after rash started. 
I was put on low and short dose of prednisone to get rid of the arthritis, which it did very quickly.  I will now start to add back my meds one by one to see if it may have been the 6mp.  Scares me a little bit to start it up again.  GI was very defensive about the suggestion that it may have been a reaction to the drug.  Blood tests were pretty normal.  White count was low which was to be expected.  My blood sugar was high as was another but I cant remember what it was, maybe AMA, or something similar.  That one was also a bit high.
Any experiences would be appreciated.

It's in the bag
Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 4/3/2008 12:14 AM (GMT -7)   
I've been on it since August now and haven't had any issues with it. My blood work gets checked every couple months and has come back fine everytime. I haven't had any nausea or anything like that and , coupled with the remicade and everything else , I've had no major attacks since leaving the hospital last year. :) Very sorry , Vicky , to hear about your Dr. being a moron . I always tell my friends who think that being a Dr. automatically makes you brilliant ; "being a Dr. is still a job like being a cook..and there are terrible cooks everywhere" hehe
Asacol 400mg x 8 dly , 50 mg Mercaptapurine x 1 dly , 40 mg Omeprazole x1 dly , Remicade every 2 months , Multivitamin , Fish Oil ,

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 6/5/2008 5:35 AM (GMT -7)   
cd2, Did your rash appear on one side of you? Did it have blisters? I have been taking 6-MP since February and it is working great for my Crohn's however because it lowers our immune I developed Shingles. I caught it really early so I had a mild case. I am sure since it is over 2 months since your post, this comment is a bit late for you but wanted to share.

43 year old Female
dx Crohn's 15 years
6 mp Mercaptopurine 50mg since Feb 08 daily
B12, Calcium, Multivitamin Daily
no surgery :)
married, Mom to 4 year old boy

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 437
   Posted 6/6/2008 7:16 AM (GMT -7)   
I was on 6MP for a while, and it nearly destroyed my liver.  However, I have seen it work for so many people.  Just make sure your doc orders blood tests to make sure!
Good luck!

Eddie K.
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 6/6/2008 7:52 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm about to go on 6MP as well so it's great to read this thread.  It's amazing that such an old drug can be so efficacious for CD and good thing also that blood monitoring can help identify those who shouldn't be on it...  I only wish there were more and larger long term studies proving it's safe if taken for many years...

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 12/25/2008 4:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had to come off Azathioprine as it affected my liver so my Consultant is suggesting this will be the next medication we trial. On reading various things online I am quite anxious about it, however this thread has been very helpful too.
Diagnosed with Crohn's 27.10.08. I'm a Kiwi looking to increase my knowledge.  As they say KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 60
   Posted 12/26/2008 6:05 AM (GMT -7)   
I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share there thoughts about Azathioprine and pregnancy? I stopped taking Methotrexate 6 months ago so I could become pregnant. I have been taking Azathioprine for 5 months and also currently on Entocort for a flare. My GI insists it's Azathioprine or surgery. He does not want to start Remicade unless it's absolutley necessary.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 12/26/2008 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ladybug I just happened to see this post, but you might want to start a new topic to get more responses. But many women on this board have taken 6mp, Imuran, Remicade and Humira while pregnant, and all had healthy babies. The thought is that its best to have a healthy mom and healthy baby. Hope that helps. Oh also, the only med you shouldn't take is methotrexate.
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis. Currently my Crohns is in remission.

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