6MP I need to know all about it

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 208
   Posted 4/12/2009 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Prednisone is not working for me (not enough to get into remission) and the doctor said as soon as I am weaned down, he's going to start 6mp. I don't know anything about it. What are the side effects? how long do you stay on it? It's a pill right? He said I can't get pregnant on it (actually he asked if I was finished having kids so I guess I can't have anymore children if I start it).

He did not think I was ready for Remicade, he said that's really more of a last option.

Does 6mp lower your resistance to infections like Prednisone so that I'll always be getting sick?

Tell me your experiences
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Proctitis at 24 years old 1995/ Ulcerative Colitis in 1998.
In remission from 2005 - 3/2009.

Hospitalized for flare 3/2009.

Current Meds: Apriso 4/day, Prednisone 40mg per day, Rowasa Enemas 2/day, Culturelle

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7150
   Posted 4/12/2009 3:11 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not on 6MP, but rhere are several on here who are. From what I've heard and read, though, it seems odd that he's having you wean off of pred first. It's my understanding that they keep you on pred while you start 6MP, decreasing the dose of pred while increasing the dose of 6MP, because 6MP can take a while to start working and the pred helps keep your symptoms under control until the 6MP kicks in. Or are you not getting any help at all from the pred?

Anyway, good luck, and I hope it works for you.
Symptoms began in November 2008, ~4 weeks after giving birth to my son.
Eased for ~3 weeks in December, possibly b/c of probiotic use?
Returned in January 2009 (with a vengeance), diagnosed with pancolitis on January 30.
Currently taking Asacol (400mg 4 pills 3x daily), Rowasa nightly, 40mg 30mg 20mg 15mg 10mg of Prednisone (quick taper), Culturelle probiotic, and Zoloft (25 mg).

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 208
   Posted 4/12/2009 8:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I am getting help from the pred but I think he wants me weaning down because I've had such bad muscle pains, weakness, and fatigue. When I get down to 20mg, he's going to see me (in about a month) and if I'm still not better that's when he's going to start the 6MP. I asked about Remicade, but he said it's too soon to go down that road, he'd want to try 6MP first.
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Proctitis at 24 years old 1995/ Ulcerative Colitis in 1998.
In remission from 2005 - 3/2009.

Hospitalized for flare 3/2009.

Current Meds: Apriso 4/day, Prednisone 40mg per day, Rowasa Enemas 2/day, Culturelle

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 460
   Posted 4/13/2009 6:50 AM (GMT -6)   
It takes about 3 months for 6MP to work.  I haven't noticed any side effects from it.  I sometimes get loss of appetite but it could be from the disease not the drug??  It is a pill that you take once a day.  In the beginning you'll get blood tests every few weeks, then every month, then every 2-3 months.  You would stay on it long term if it works for you.  It is an immunosuppressant but I never get sick all the time with being on it.  I might get a cold in the winter like everyone else does but I'm no sicker than the average person.

Female, Age 38
Diagnosed w/c.diff 7/02 when pregnant w/1st and only child during 2nd trimester(wasn't on antibiotics)
C.diff flare within weeks of delivering baby 1/03, Diagnosed with UC 2/03
Current Meds:
Lialda, 6MP
Ferrex Forte
Acidophillus, Sacchromyces Boulardii, Oil of Oregano

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5975
   Posted 4/13/2009 3:21 PM (GMT -6)   
     I've been on 6MP for over five years.  The doctor placed me on it while I was still on prednisone.  It does take anywhere from three to six months to "kick in" .  Last year I was taken off it for a very short while because my pancreatic enzyme levels were too high.  Have no idea what the problem was but the GI doctor thought the 6MP was affecting my pancreas.  This was upon admittance to the hospital for UC and extremely high blood pressure.  My pancreatic tests returned to normal by the end of the week (I was hospitalized ten days).  At my first GI doctor's appointment following my hospitalization, he placed me back on the 6MP with caution.  I had my blood tested monthly.  It took another three months for the 6MP to kick in with the prednisone.  Total time on the pred last year was seven months.  Far too long.  To make a long story short...am in remission since Nov 1st.  I cut my dosage of 6MP down from 75 mgm to 50 mgm one day and 25 the next.  My white count went down to 2.4 whil on 75 mgm and I didn't like that one bit.  It is now up to 2.9, not great, but better.  The only side effect I notice is the thinning of my hair over the past few years.  But, then again, I am 62 yrs old.
62 yr old granny. South Jersey
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008
Update 11/03/08...finally in remission!!  Hope I don't jinx myself.  Off the prednisone since 11/01/08...now see if I can stay off for longer than two weeks.  Other meds: 6MP (75 mgm), colazal (6 per day), Benicar and Toprol (high blood pressure meds), Probiotic (2 per day), fish oil capsule and multi-vitamin and calcium with vitamin D.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 678
   Posted 4/13/2009 3:59 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm going to start 6mp soon so I don't have personal experience to share. BUT I do know of someone that has been on 6mp for 10 years. Any time she wanted to have a baby she would go off of it then back on once she gave birth.
31 yr old female currently breastfeeding (weaning so I can start 6mp)
Mild Pancolitis
I've had UC since 2000 but was in remission for most of those 8 years med free
Cannot tolerate mesalamine - starting 6mp soon

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 394
   Posted 4/13/2009 10:32 PM (GMT -6)   
My daughter was on it for 2 weeks and had to stop due to joint pain. However she was on 30 mg of Pred for a month and did not have any sort of joint pain from it so maybe you will be the opposite! It is very uncommon to have the joint pain as a side effect (or so says the DR) It does lower your resistance but so does Pred. Both my husband and I had terrible colds while our daughter was on Prednisone and she did not get so much as a sniffle which is rare because she gets sick SO easily!
Sooo....what I am trying to say is that you never know how you will react to a medication until you take it
10 yr old daughter diagnosed with "UC-like Crohn's" 12/08
2nd opinion March 2009 - diagnosis UC and not Crohn's
currently on 2400 mg Asacol & Rowasa 1x day

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 208
   Posted 4/13/2009 11:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Once you are on it do you have to stay on it forever?
37 year old mom of 2.

Diagnosed with Ulcerative Proctitis 1995 (24 years old) / Ulcerative Colitis in 2000 (29 years old)
In remission for 4 years from 2005 - 3/2009 with colazol maintenance only.

Hospitalized for flare 3/23/09 - 3/25/09.

Current Meds: Apriso 4/day, Prednisone 40mg per day, Rowasa Enemas 2/day, Culturelle

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 199
   Posted 4/14/2009 3:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Shellie, I think the next time I go back to the doctor he will want to put me on 6MP. It is not the small short term effects that worry me, it is what it does to the body long term that I am afraid of. "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" (wikipedia). That is what scares me, the long term effects of screwing with my chromosomes.
Asacol-12 a day
1 Culturelle
1 Canasa
2 Fish oil supplements
1 Vitamin

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 4/14/2009 8:15 AM (GMT -6)   
You have to keep in mind that everything you read about 6mp on the internet is for much higher levels then what we are on. When I was to start 6mp, I read much of the literature on the internet and I started to freak out. I told my GI this and he told me that what we read are the higher dose levels and it has been studied that the levels we are on has shown no such incidences. The main thing my GI mentioned though is that there has been a couple of cases of lymphoma in a patient that has been on 6mp. But what are we talking about 1 in 1,000,000??? All I know is that I was in a horrible flare, steroid enema dependant and I wanted my life back. I have had a rough road while on 6mp meaning that it just wouldn't work right for me. But finally after 3 years of being on it, I have reached a full clinical remission.
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-second series starts 2/17, OA in my fingers -Celebrex, Tylonel Arthritis and Voltaren Gel
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 4/14/2009 11:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Carcinogenesis is thought to be a function of duration independent of dosage, which has its own risks.
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