6-mercaptipurine (spelling?)

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 9/10/2009 6:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Has anyone here tried this? Does it help? I believe it's a chemotherapy drug.  Dr. suggesting it as a follow up option for my nine year old girl. I'm very very hesitant to even think about putting her on a chemo med.  Will her hair fall out?  Other side effects? YIKES. Advice please!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/10/2009 7:12 PM (GMT -7)   
I took this a few years ago for my Crohn's. My doctor was hesitant to put me on it because it takes about 3 months before you feel any effects from the drug. I didn't have any weird side effects. It helped maintain my Crohn's for awhile, but my doctor switched me to Remicade when I began to develop fistulas (from the Crohn's).
I took it again last June and stayed on it for a few months, but went off all meds when hubby and I were trying to get pregnant. After 4 months of being off meds, I had to take Cimzia because my Crohn's had gotton worse and I couldn't wait three months for meds to kick in.
Both times I never noticed any side effects, and I still have a lot of hair.  :)
You could always try it, and if you notice unusual or unpleasant side effects, you can stop. I know different meds have different effects on different people.
Hope this helps in some way. Good luck.
Diagnosed with Crohn's disease 11 years ago.
Been on Prednisone, Asocol, 6MP, Entocort, Cipro, Lialda, Remicade, Cimzia.
Most success on Remicade.
Heading for first surgery, bowel resection sometime soon.

Elite Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 9/10/2009 7:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Try looking at the meds link in my sig - can't remember how much 6mp info is there, but it might help answer one or two of your questions.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 9/10/2009 8:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I took 6mp for a few years with no major problems. I did experience some stiff joints in my
ankles but it wasn't horrible enough for me to stop taking it. I loved being on it and yes it does
take a few months to start working too. I wish doc would let me take it again but because I
have a lot of joint pain as it is he said not a good idea.
Living with Crohn's Disease since Jan./2000 but had a few years prior
I'm a true Crohnie with IBS and Arthrities too
Meds I have tried:  Too many to list- LOL
Meds currently on:  Tramadol for the pain
                               *Waiting to go on Cimzia                      
No Surgeries

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 9/11/2009 5:20 AM (GMT -7)   
6mp and its first cousin imuran are very widely used drugs in Crohns and have been for several decades, with minimal side effects for most people and excellent results in maintaining remission long term. You will find many people on this forum who have had good results with this medication, and a few who had difficulties. When used in treatiing Crohns it is administered at a dosage level far below its use as a chemotherpy agent in treating leukemia. I would suggest scanning some of the past posts and doing some research on it, using keywords purinethol and 6-mercaptopurine.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 9/11/2009 6:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks all for your replies. A friend had warned me off it for my daughter, saying its chemo and she's going to be toxic and lose all her hair. My daughter's so young...I'm hesitant to try any of these major meds. Wish there was a more natural way to go, other than SCD.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 9/11/2009 6:50 AM (GMT -7)   
MoobyDoo your friend is wrong. The doses we use 6mp/Imuran are not even close to what the chemo people use. Many crohnies have been successfully maintained on these meds for years. I would recommend you give them a try, you could get your daughter put into remission and able to get on with her life. There is some hair shedding, but all her hair WILL NOT fall out. You can help to avoid some of this shedding by adding folic acid and Biotin into her diet. Good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Crohn's Disease for over 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
It's scary when you start making the same noises As your coffee maker.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 734
   Posted 9/11/2009 7:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I have taken 6MP for about 5 years now and I have had no problems or side effects with it. It has been my wonder drug to keep my guts happy and me off the operating table. I take 75 mg (small amount). My mom has CD too and she just started it, on 50mg, with no problems. My hair does come out some - BUT a lot of that I contribute to stress in general and hair loss is a side effect of the CD itself, so I cannot tell it is any worse after I started the 6MP. It is not huges bunches of hair like you think with a chemo med - really not much more than in your normal hairbrush. I have my bloodwork done every three months to make sure my blood count is within normal range (it is always low, but still normal). Once a year they check my liver enzymes.
"We can't beat this disease, YET, but we can't let it beat us!"

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 9/11/2009 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Nanners, Meshice: Thanks. I'm feeling more hopeful.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 9/11/2009 10:40 AM (GMT -7)   
My dd is 11-diagnosed at 9. She has been on Remicade,Humira and now we are on 6mp.Shes only been on 3 weeks so no effect yet.These medicines are scary but the alternative is scarier. I dont always rest easy at night wondering if we are doing the right thing.You do the best you can.  So far I have heard good things about the 6mp once it kicks. Heres hoping it puts both our kids in remission for years to come.

gemini kiwi
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1136
   Posted 9/11/2009 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Din't agree with me at all. hair loss bruising loads of nasty side effects they didn't seem bothered about, after nearly going head first through my bedroom window one morning I bined the lot and have kept my balance ever since. I try to manage this disease in a more natural way now which suits me much better.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 209
   Posted 9/11/2009 3:04 PM (GMT -7)   
6mp was a big help for me...
I couldn't tolerate Imuran.
Been on 6mp for many years.
No side effects for me.
B-12injections,Pentasa,Loperamide,Entocort,6mp,Hydrochlorothiazide,8 week
Remission since surgery
and 8-week Remicade.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 9/11/2009 4:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I've been on 6MP for five years, with almost no side effects. It's been instrumental in keeping my inflammation down and keeping me from having additional abdominal surgery. I take no other meds (except a monthly B-12 shot). Pentasa did nothing for me, and I was very ill and scared to death. 6MP may not work for everyone, but it's been a lifesaver for me. I'm on a very minimal dose. Don't be afraid of it.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 565
   Posted 9/12/2009 7:51 AM (GMT -7)   
i have been on 6mp for 2 years and am currently in remission after several increases. it did take 6-8 months for me to really feeling it's full effect but it's worked wonders. the only thing i am not a huge fan of is the thinning of my hair. i have about half as much as i used to have. i had really thick hair but i am certainly not even close to bald so, don't worry about that too much!

good luck :)
.: stephanie :.
34 y/o female diagnosed 8/8/7 with crohn's of the terminal ileum w/ stricture/scarring
meddies: 6mp, trazodone, iron, calcium, folic acid, b12 injections at home & some other vits

currently in remission! :D

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 9/19/2009 10:06 AM (GMT -7)   
When I was first diagnosed, I was put on Prednisone, Pentasa, and 6mp. My inflammation was so severe, though, that I could not take the oral meds without major complications. My GI took me off the Pentasa, weened me off Prednisone, but kept me on the 6mp. After several months it was helping, but not enough, so I was put on Remicade 3 years ago. The only side effect I had from the 6mp was hair loss - but not significant.

I know every case differs, but I had no severe reactions with the 6mp. Good luck to you and your daughter - may you find the "right" formula soon!
This disease will NOT defeat me!

Diagnosed with Crohn's in December, 2004, at the ripe old age of 52. Currently on Remicade and in remission.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 9/21/2009 4:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Be careful- I was put on 6MP after my 3rd resection, and after 3 weeks, developed pain in my upper abdomin - it got worse as the day wore on and
was radiating to my back - felt like a heart attack.  I looked up the side effects of 6MP and was rushed to the hospital because, sure enough, I
had pancreatitis from the 6MP.  If I hadn't gone to the hospital and kept taking the med, it would have been a disaster.  Too bad my doctor didn't
warn me.
I also know a 21 year old man who has been taking it successfully for a year. 
 If you go that route, just be sure you know the warning signs and
don't be afraid to take your daughter in if she complains of even mild upper abdominal pain. 
30+ years with Crohn's - 3 resections, abcess, fistula

Mormor Vicky
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 684
   Posted 9/22/2009 4:38 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm one that couldn't tolerate it. Ended up with bone-marrow suppression, but there is a blood test that can help determine if you child can tolerate it. I believe it's a Promethus test. I'd recommend your doctor doing that first.
Vicky / 49 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 (28) 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, Lisinopril

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 9/22/2009 4:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Vicky. I'll definitely mention that test to her doc.  Lots of D yesterday, her Crohn's is def. flaring. I hate this!
Posts refer to my 9 year old girl
  • Started with 30 mg Prednisone, tapered off over 3 months

Then continued with:

  • Pentasa, 3 blue horse-sized capsules, 3 x daily
  • Forvia multivitamin/mineral for Crohnies
  • Coromega
  • Calcium
  • VSL#3, 2 x day
  • Custom Probiotics: 6-Strain Blend, 1 x day
  • Culturelle, 1 x day

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 9/22/2009 5:57 AM (GMT -7)   
I've been on 6MP for over a decade. It is one of the drugs that have kept me out of the hospital and off the operating table. I have had no major side effects. The only thing, and I don't know it at all, is that my liver test come back slightly elevated. Have always come back that way since I started. So you do need to make sure you keep up with the blood tests. If my tests were to change I might have to stop taking it, but since they are consistent, my doctors feel things are ok. I've even had a liver biopsy just to be sure and everything was fine.

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

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