• 6-mercaptopurine (also called Purinethol or 6-MP)

    6-Mercaptopurine is thought to cause mild immune suppression, which helps to reduce platelet destruction and can be used to help treat immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).

    General Instructions

    • The amount of 6-MP varies for each child. Your child's doctor or nurse practitioner will prescribe the amount based on your child's height and weight.
    • Follow the directions given to you by your doctor or nurse practitioner. The amount you give your child may change based on your child's blood counts.
    • 6-MP comes in a liquid or as a tablet.
    • Ask your pharmacist for a special measuring spoon for liquid medicine.
    • Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medicine.
    • Drink several glasses of water a day while taking 6MP.
    • Blood tests will be done to monitor your child's platelet count and liver function.
    • Do not give this medication within 2 hours of eating food or drinking milk; give on an empty stomach.
    • It is recommended to give this medication at bedtime to prevent mild nausea.

    What should I do if I miss a dose?

    • If your child misses a dose of 6-MP, please call your child's doctor or nurse practitioner. He or she will tell you when to give the next dose.
    • If your child vomits (throws up) within 15 minutes after taking 6-MP, give him/her another dose. If more than 15 minutes have passed, do not repeat the dose because the medicine will have already started working.
    • If vomiting continues, call your child's doctor or nurse practitioner.

    What are the possible side effects of 6-MP?

    • abnormal liver function tests
    • skin rash
    • mild nausea
    • low blood counts

    When should I call the doctor or nurse?

    Call if your child:

    • develops vomiting;
    • has been exposed to chicken pox and has not yet had this infection;
    • misses a dose;
    • develops a rash;
    • develops any signs of increased bleeding;
    • refuses to take the medicine.

    Special safety tips

    • Contact your poison information control center if your child receives an accidental overdose. In Massachusetts call (617) 232-2120 or 1-800-222-1222.
    • Before giving this medicine, tell your child's doctor or nurse if your child has any allergies or other medical problems or if your child has been exposed to chicken pox and has not yet had this infection.
    • Tell your child's doctor or nurse about any other medicine your child is taking, including non-prescription drugs.
    • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should tell their doctor or nurse.
    • Tell doctors, dentists, surgeons and others who provide medical care for your child that he or she is taking this medicine.
    • Do not give this medicine to anyone else.
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