6-MP (also called 6-mercaptopurine or its brand name Purinethol) is a relatively common immunosupressive medication. Like most ulcerative colitis medications, you need to have a prescription and guidance from your treating physician to use this medication.
People using 6-MP may have a harder time with fighting off infection.
There are many documented side effects (as is the case with many medications) and some of these may include: vomiting, loss of appetite, skin rashes, dark urine. There is also a chance that 6MP may be toxic to bone marrow. More details about the medication and its possible side effects can be found on wikipedia’s 6MP page – here.
If you have used/use 6-MP to treat your UC, please submit a review on your experience and rating of the medication below.
Seems to be working, but my liver ain't happy
I was diagnosed with UC in Jan 2013. Allergic to sulfa drugs, so I was on prednisone for 5 months and Lialda. Doc added 6MP in May, and I started tapering off the prednisone, which caused me to lose about half of the hair on my head but grow a lot of facial hair (thank goodness I'm a natural blonde!) I am taking a 50 mg dose of 6MP, which is low for my weight, but my liver enzymes are elevated and I am B12 deficient, but not anemic. Not sure what that means, but I have an appointment with a hematologist and will probably start getting B12 shots because I am not absorbing the B-12 in pill-form. My doc does not think the 6MP is causing the high liver enzymes (they were elevated before I started the 6MP), but she is running more tests (bloodwork). At first, I did not think I had any side effects from the 6MP, but I have noticed a general "ache-iness." I chalked that up to being 45 and arthritic (my dad has pretty severe osteo-arthritis, and my mother had rheumatoid arthritis), but as I read more testimonials, now I am wondering if the 6MP is causing me to feel like an Old Lady. It's not incapacitating--once I get up and start moving around, I'm fine, it's just those initial steps or bending/squatting/sitting that are problematic. I'm still pissed about my hair loss, though. I was hoping it would grow back once I got off prednisone, but then I read somewhere that 6MP can also contribute to hair loss. I may have to resort to shopping for a wig. As far as my UC symptoms, though, I would have to say they are improved and tolerable. I still have to make 2 or more trips to the bathroom in the mornings, but after that, I'm usually good for the day, and the sense of urgency has gone away. I no longer fear plane trips or public places. I have also stopped obsessing over food. I have tried eliminating all kinds of "bad foods" from my diet, and it didn't make a whit of difference. Even so, I have reduced or minimized my consumption of caffeine, sugar, carbonated beverages, fruits with skins/seeds, red meat, raw vegetables, and gluten/carbs.
I was hospitalized in September 2010 for six days with a bad flare. I was put on Colazal when I was released. A little more than a year later I had another flare, but this time I met up with the doctor in time to prevent myself from being hospitalized again. I started 6MP (one tablet daily) in January of 2012, and my flare went away. Nine months later another flare started to creep in. By January things were pretty uncomfortable-- BMs 6-8x/day plus a few trips at night. Rather than up my dose of 6MP or start on Prednisone, I decided to try the SCD. I have been following it (loosely) since late January 2013 and I feel completely normal now. Almost six weeks ago I began to taper off the 6MP (I'm down to 1/2 a pill). In a couple days I will cut my dose in half again (1/4 pill) for six weeks and then stop completely.
There are warnings out there that adverse effects from 6MP can show up months or even years after stopping the drug. One thing I've noticed is that I have a strange tiny red dry patch of skin on my chin near my mouth. It started to appear shortly after I lowered my dose of 6MP, and It has been camping on my face for at least a month! I also notice that when I get a pimple, it has a strange personality. It hurts--sort of stings a little--and is watery inside. I try to avoid popping them because they just become a mess that reinvents itself. They hang out on my face for much longer than they used to.
My advice is: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try the SCD. Be careful about the drugs you choose, because they may seem like miracles at first, but once you stop taking them, they could bring on a whole slew of problems for you... I sure do hope that I can continue to see positive results from the SCD so that I can avoid poisoning myself with these crazy drugs. It's interesting that such a tiny little pill can affect your body in such a drastic way.
Was on 6 PM for 6 years and did fairly well....or so I thought. Had a major flare, June 2012. Ended up in hospital for 3 weeks. Turns out that the 6mp destroyed my bone marrow, White and Red blood cells, platelets amongst other things. Turns out that my GI doc never monitored me for these items. Supposed to be monitored every few months.
6MP...I Guess Not For Me
When I was diagnosed my GI started me on Asacol, but I unfortunately developed an allergic reaction to it (pancreatitis) and had to stop. I was put on prednisone, then finally asked to try 6MP this past January. Got up to 75mg/d with no real change in my UC symptoms (cramping, urgency, tenesmus, blood, incontinence, etc), but my GI just called me today and said to stop the 6MP immediately. My white blood cell count is too low and it's also starting to effect my liver. So, back to the drawing board after some more labs later this week. All in all if this drug had worked for me I would have been kind of okay taking it since the only side effect I experienced was slight nausea at about the same time every day. It's hard to tell how well it really "worked" for me, though, because I'm still on a relatively high dose of prednisone. Guess 6MP was not meant to be.
I have been on 75mg of 6mp for about four months now. The side effects were pretty hardcore at first, but have eased off a bit now. In the beginning I was throwing up every morning, Zofran is helping with that now. I ran out of Zofran the other day and sure enough, I was extremely nauseous and threw up. My hair thinned quite a bit, and I have developed painful bumps on my scalp. Itchy and painful! I also have severe joint pain, which could be a side effect, or it's because of autoimmune disease. Not sure yet. I had a colonoscopy a week ago, and it showed a lot of inflammation, ulcers and mucus all throughout my guts, so I guess 6mp is making my life a bit more liveable, but am still not in remission. Still running to the toilet 5-7x day. My DR is talking about starting Humira, but I'm REALLY reluctant. It's all a crap shoot. (intentional pun)
good but bad
6mp helped me out of a flare after I had been on a few runs with Prednisone and it was confirmed that I had become steroid-dependent. I was worried that i would get sick or die from 6mp, but At the time it seemed to be the best choice. After ten months on6mp I had another flare,found this website and decided to try the SCD. Within a few weeks my symptoms were gone! I am still on 6mp (it's been about 13 months) but pretty soon I will be stopping all medications (I'm also taking Colazal). 6mp has been ok for me but I Ferrell like it's making me age more quickly and i can't help but think it's taking the vitality from many blood and cells.
6mp 10 years and counting
Was diagnosed with UC at age 13. Went on prednisone, asacol, and 6mp. Been on asacol for 10years. prednison needed for flareups. Been on the 6mp for 10years now, and it works well to keep me in remission however I have concerns about the long term effects and pregnancies which I plan to have kids. My liver enzymes are closely monitored but my gastro doc warned me that I eventually will not respond to 6mp and will need to go on remicade which I'm afraid. Powerful drugs.
I have been using 6mp for over a year taking 1.5 tablet so my doctor says I have a steady 6mp lvl In my blood. I haven't noticed any results or relief from my extreme symptoms on this. My diet is all I can notice from a day to day if I'm not on something extra like prednisone. I can't take Asacol, I started my treatments with that, until one day I ended up in the emergency room at 21yrs old suffering from pericarditis.. A very long four days of recovery and learning I'm a rare case of allergies to the primary UC med..
6MP: Not for me
I was on 6-MP for a grand total of two weeks during my first flare. It was shortly after I got out of the hospital after we found out I was allergic mesalamine drugs. The first week went fine, and I actually felt pretty good. The second week, on the other hand, was another story. I was debilitatingly weak to the point that I could barely get out of bed. I was nauseous all of the time and throwing up when I did venture to try and eat. Not even Zofran was helping with that. On top of that, I kept getting palpitations and difficulty breathing and could barely go four words without crying. It was miserable. I called my doctor who made me come in ASAP (love my doctor by the way) to have labs drawn and found out I was toxic. So needless to say, worst drug ever.
Not for me...allergic and being masked by prednisone...as I tapered the pred. Boom...nasty forever rash from my neck up. Still have remnants of rash on my forehead-forever reminder. Felt terrible on it and it even straightened my curly hair-No Joke! Be careful!
worked one time but not the next
i used 6mp along with prednisone, remicade, flagyl, cipro, and canasa to get in remission the first time around. it's hard to know exactly what was working, but i feel like the 6mp made a difference. i know this because when i had to stop it due to high liver enzymes, all my symptoms came back even though i was on remicade, too. when i got back on it at half the dose, it did't do anything. i think the 50 mg dose was effective for me but also damaging to my liver. the 25 mg dose was not strong enough.
Every time I encounter a flare up, the routine is: quick fix - prednisone plus increasing doses for Azathiopurine. I finally got to the point from starting with 50mg to maintaining in remission for 6months on I believe somewhere from 200-300mg. Along with this dose, Asacol 400mg (4 pills 3x a day) - I thought this combination of 6-mp and Asacol will finally put me in remission for longer than 6months, but I suddenly had a severe flare. I maxed out my dose for using this 6-mp after doing promethues blood lab results - so then tried remicade with only 100mg of the 6-mp azathiopurine. The combination wasn't strong enough so now I'm on 10mg/kg bags of Remicade infusion along with 200mg of the azathiopurine (6mp) and Asacol (12 pills each day). The only thing I never liked when going on high doses of the azathiopurine is the intense nausea I get! It wakes me up in middle of night having to need to eat otherwise I feel I'll vomit or pass out!
I think 6mp might have been toxic to me. When I was on it, my entire body was stiff and in pain. It made me feel like an arthritic 90 year old with the flu, which was weird to me at the time because I knew uc sufferers who've raved about the benefits of 6mp. And even though I kept on complaining, my GI made me stay on it for a couple months until I finally just told him that I was done poisoning myself. Oh, & it really didn’t help with my uc symptoms. Once I stopped taking 6mp, I started feeling less & less like I had one foot in the grave. After about 10 days off it, I was back to my normal ibd symptomatic self. If I could, I wouldn't give 6mp any stars!
I used 6-MP along with the Lialda to control a flare. I had good results but I was also taking golimumab injections in a drug study. Did not notice any side effects until I had to discontinue due to the diagnosis of kidney cancer.
Not All Bad
I was on it for a year and it put me into remission which was great. I didn't have any side effects other than towards the end it made me anemic and I had to come off it.