Posted 12/27/2012 5:19 PM (GMT -6)
I've been on mercaptopurine since 2004, and it's kept me in remission since then. The reason that they want you to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum is that, like other immunomodulating drugs, mercaptopurine is a little tough on your liver--and they don't want you to increase the load on your liver by consuming a lot of alcohol. I haven't had any alcohol since my diagnosis in 1999 (and I do miss it)--but my doctor's told me that I can have the occasional alcoholic drink if I want to (but only because he knows that I'd drink in moderation).
So you may not have to totally abstain. Just minimize your consumption. I'm assuming that you're having your liver function tested periodically; as long as the test results are OK, you can probably have the occasional glass of wine.
The increased risk of cancer is real, but very minimal. Make sure to get an annual screening for skin cancers, which may occur slightly more frequently while you're on mercaptopurine.