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.
Search Side Effects Below:
CLICK HERE to add any side-effects you’ve experienced.
headache and high feverand muscular aches
February 5, 2017
February 3, 2017
sore throat, cough
January 6, 2017
September 4, 2016
Killed most of my red blood cells
Yes I was doing on Radioactive iodine for thyroid
August 28, 2016
Skin cancer (non Melanoma)
August 22, 2016
Chronic nausea, vomiting, weight loss, loss of appetite, thinning hair, chronic fatigue
sulfasalazine, wellbutrin, folic acid, multi vitamins
August 21, 2016
Nausea and weight loss
August 19, 2016
None. Had complete remission from UC while on it and bloods fine each time. Took a 16 week break as had been well for 2 years. UC returning so returned to the 6mp. Waiting for the medication to work again.
August 15, 2016
6mp is both a chemotherapy and an immune-suppressant drug which means it shuts it down (as opposed to UC which means it is active all the time) and leaves you vulnerable to other ailments. I have been on 6mp since 2012 and have experienced the following:
1. I got Shingles within a month or so after starting. My treatment was a two hour I.V. bag of Famvir and within an hour or so, the itching and pain went away and by the next day, I was ok. The scarring however, left the area a light purple which is fading away.
2. Bronchitis: I had Bronchitis in 2014, 2015, and 2016, usually around the winter time (and while the winter is not the same in Hawaii as it is elsewhere), our winters are unpredictable; cold one day, rainy another, and humid later so that combined with just being tired a lot leaves me vulnerable for Bronchitis. Each time, I was treated with a daily (every single day) of I.V. treatment for two months with a steroid called dexmethasone. If you miss a day, you have to start over, but if you are loyal to the treatment, then within a week, your symptoms clear, the breathing is regular, and you just have to stay healthy. 2014 was the worst for me because I just had my first carpal tunnel surgery which took a month and a half to completely heal. After those two, I got a really bad case of nausea and had to go back for an I.V. treatment of Zofran which within an hour, I was able to eat and drink again.
3. Nausea: It varies from time to time and it happens. Sometimes I will get it when my stomach is aching and I still have to use the toilet. Other times, if its too hot or my temperature is up which Canada Dry really does help. The ginger ale provides a soothing solution to an upset stomach and nausea while the carbonation kills the taste of the acid reflux.
4. Fatigue: Colitis can make a person feel fatigued so it's not that much difference though with 6mp, you have days where just doing things in the morning like fixing your bed, showering, hygiene, brushing your teeth, and having breakfast can make you feel like you worked an 8-hour shift. I just found out I have sleep apnea so these symptoms kinda blend together.
5. And the last is bruising. Sometimes you find bruises on your knees, legs, back, or arms and not remember how you get it. It's not like you hit it on something but just happens.
I take Avorstatin for blood pressure, Lipitor for cholesterol, Wellbutrin for anxiety and depression (it is no surprise that with this physical craziness that it won't affect your mental health), and Delzicol.
August 13, 2016
Rash from exposure to sun while on 6-MP
August 12, 2016
Severe nausea even though I was taking anti-sickness meds at the same time. Leg pain. Lethargy and constantly felt tired. General health wasn't good for the entire time I was on it. I even had abnormal cells in my smear tests.
Prednisolone and domperidone
August 11, 2016
My 14 yr old daughter took 6MP and very quickly developed high levels and was not feeling very well.
Dr added on Allipurnal, took for a short amount of time and we decided to take her off both Meds. She is back to Lialida 4 pills a day
July 27, 2016
Hair fell out, always exhausted, blood counts went out of wack with higher dosage.
July 20, 2016
Anemia, leukopenia, jaundice
July 17, 2016
Thinning hair. Other than the first week taking 6MP feeling a little headache there is no obvious side effects felt.
I also take 3- 800mg Asacol HD and 1mg folic acid tablets per-day
July 17, 2016
If you have used/use 6-MP to treat your UC, please submit a review on your experience and rating of the medication below.
6mp has worked for me
I was diagnosed about 12 years ago. Tried Asacol, colosol, foams, and others. Nothing worked but Prednisone. Every time I dropped below 20mg/day I would flare, sometimes having,30 bloody bowel movements a day. I felt near death. Started on 6mp 5 years ago and did a very slow withdrawal from the Prednisone. Compete and total remission for 5 years now on 75mg/day. I eat everything and have one bowel movement a day. It took two years, but the left side pain went away. I did have one bout with 3 cases of bacterial cellulitis in 6 months. The infections spread scarily fast but responded to antibiotics. Might have been related to 6mp, maybe not. It has given me my life back. We are now free to travel, camp, eat anything. Although I will very occasionally have a beer or glass of wine, I do drink very little. Those folks that I know that had liver issues with 6mp continued to drink daily after starting the meds. I would rather keep my colon than have a few beers.
on 50 mg 6-mp, as I was reducing prednisone, incredible break thru pain. Dr. increased 6-MP to 75 mg. and back to 40 of prednisone. first week completed and still eye pressure, shortness of breath, sheer exhaustion, but no abdominal pain. checking liver functions and blood count monthly, so far they've been ok.
taking 50 mg a day with 30 mg a day Prednisone for Crohns. 3 weeks into first month--- no appetite, no weight gain, metal taste in mouth and incredible eye pressure. Crohns symptoms are under control, hoping to reduce prednisone in 3 weeks
I have been taking 6-MP (Purinethol in Canada) for the past three years. Because of my weight, I was prescribed 150 mg a day. However, after a few months my blood test showed a small problem with my liver and I was then prescribed 100mg and again I had a slight problems with my liver and went to 50mg a day. My liver is fine with this dose and surprisingly so is my U.C. This drug gave me my life back and no trace of U.C. since. Surely this drug has serious side effect but so is U.C. as I had no life.
I just started med. also on Lialda,and Mesalamine Rectal Suspension at Bedtime
I was diagnosed w UC about 45 years ago w several flares. My last colonoscopy showed moderate inflammation and active colitis, but so far no dysphasia. Dr says I have to get this under control as It can turn into cancer. So he s putting me on 6mp. I m only on 3rd dose. Still have bleeding. Was on course of
Prednisone 40mg taper x2 w better results the first time around w some symptoms relieved. Not so much this time. I m afraid of taking the 6mp but I know I have to. Scary! I have a good rapport w Dr and nurse though. I know they ll take good care of me
If you enjoy side effects
I've had Crohns Disease for 12 years. Was put on 6mp in the beginning don't remember side effects then because I was put on so many other drugs. But this time around it is HORRIBLE. I've been on it almost three months. I have lots so much hair in a short amount of time. Comes out in the shower, everytime I brush my hair, just all day! I have a almost bald spot on the front left side of my head. Devastated about that right now. I can't go to the bathroom. Even on daily stool softeners it doesn't help. I have hemorrhoids or a peri annul abscess. Headaches every night. Clenching my teeth at night Sooo hard! Mouth guard doesn't help the pain. Random bumps all over body. Easily bruised. Sensitivity to sunlight. Night sweats. Acne is acting up. Hunger/eating habits are off. Random nausea. Constant bloody, sensitive spot in left nostril. Thinner blood.
Is that enough side effects to prove I absolutely hate 6mp right now. I am making the decision to stop this medication myself. No matter what my doctor says. The hair loss was enough for me. Now I have to recover from that.
I was prescribed this drug for ulcerative colitis. I took it for two years. Several months ago my white cell count was showing gross abnormalities and I was having side effects such as mouth ulcers etc. This month all of my blood results i.e red cells, white cells and platelets have been abnormal grossly abnormal. I had to stop the drug immediately. Following a bone marrow biopsy I have been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome. I have already had two blood transfusions of two units but am now facing having five or six cycles of chemotherapy. I have been told that this drug should only be prescribed for six months for people with my condition. I now face a very uncertain future as I now have a life limiting illness. I would rate this drug at zero and advise people who have been prescribed it to research it and to always question, question, question ANY recommended treatment.
6 MP experience
Have been prescribed 6 MP on two separate occasions. It did take a few months for it to have any effect but it did help. Then my Gamma GT tests were really high so had to stop taking it. Try to follow SCD to a certain extent and feel that I have more good days than bad at the moment. Still taking 8 400 mg of Asacol per day. Biggest problem at the moment is joint and muscle pain.
I have been on 6mp for almost 5 years, as the ONLY long term treatment option for Autoimmune pancreatitis (a particularly nasty and dangerous complication of UC), as I cannot tolerate azathioprine. (Natural healing remedies and diet not an option).
I now tolerate it quite well, nausea virtually non existent, 3 monthly bloods normal, hair grew back after 12 months or so. I can keep the dose low (50mg) by supplementing with tiny dose (2mg) prednisolone (down from 60 mg in the early days) which apparently has a synergistic effect. I have suffered less colds, bugs in this time than everyone else !? Just a general fatigue, which dogs me and stops me from working.
I am looking forward to coming off later this year, as the AIP seems to be in remission, so will revert back to more conventional treatments and diet for UC , which mildly rumbles on despite 6mp. Really interested in LDN, but is difficult to get in UK. Hopefully I will feel brand new, without the fatigue.
Reviews of drugs are not useful
6-mp works brilliantly for me. All my symptoms are pretty much gone, and I can even have some of my trigger foods now. I have none of the side-effects.
However, my experience with it will be of no value to you. UC is different for each of us.
We all have different things we should avoid eating or drinking. We all have different reactions to different drugs. Some people can control UC just with diet, but most of us can\'t.
Similarly, each of us will have different reactions to each of the drugs. Azathioprine makes me vomit at doses too low to be useful, for example. This is not true for everybody.
DO NOT TRUST ANY REVIEW OF MEDICATION!
You cannot tell what effect it will have on you by reading about how it affected someone else.
Some of the drugs used to treat UC can have serious side-effects. But you won\'t know beforehand if YOU will have them.
DO NOT use any review here to decide whether you should take a drug or not.
DO be aware that you may have side effects from 6-MP or anything else. You and your gastroenterologist should be looking for them.
ALWAYS take advice from your gastro about ANY treatment (medication or not)
6MP is like a double edged sword. In my last colonoscopy exam in 2013, the ulcers have somewhat quarantined itself in batches and not as spread out as in 2012 shortly before being put on 6MP. I don't have the daily bleeding and diarrhea as before but when it does happen; it happens in droves. The bad side: I got Shingles in my first month of being on 6MP in 2012, the constant fatigue was the same as having Colitis; in 2013, I had bouts of occasional nausea but for one year, things were slowly becoming livable. In 2014, around the winter, I got Bronchitis following my carpal tunnel surgery which required 2 weeks of I.V. therapy (a steroid) then a week later a really bad case of nausea putting me on Zofran tablets daily along with it in liquid form in an I.V. I haven't been as nauseous like that since I started taking Turmeric as a tea and having ginger in my diet daily. This year, I got Bronchitis once again but not in the same severity as last year since I caught it in time. In a few weeks, I will be taking another colonoscopy to see how things are. I am also on Delzicol.
No good for me!
I feel for you all, I've had a bad flare up for 13 months this time. I'm on asacol oral and foam enemas, prednisone for 6 months, which is awful and azatheprine then I was so ill after a week so they took me off aza and put me on Mercaptopurine, I was good for one week and again seriously ill which started with the sorest throat I've ever experienced and then things just got worse, bloods went all over the place and in the end they took me off it to recover and then they'd like me to start again but when I read all the problems associated with this chemotherapy drug I've decided I'm done, I dot. Know if it's wise, but I stopped it all steroids and Mercaptopurine. I'm trying with a pure form of aloe Vera, diet and general healthy choice. I can't be no worse as they haven't got the UC under control for 13 months even with the steroids. My doctor is very understanding I just hpe the specialist will be when I see him but he didn't have to live with all the side effects from these drugs! I don't feel to bad and it's been 10 days. I'm in for another colonoscopy this Friday, which is to soon to see if my way is working but I do feel better for taking the control back, which works for me and feels good seeing the last 20 yrs it's all controlled me.
I have had UC since 1984. For the majority of that time, I was on prednisone which did not always worked for me. I switched doctors in 2001 and he got me off the prednisone using 6MP (100mg/day) and Colazal (750mg 3x/day). I have been symptom free in in remission since 2001. I had the 6MP dropped to 75mg/day. a couple of years ago and have been fine.
just got diagnosed with UC in June have been on 6-mp for two months and it has not worked. using only 50mg at first then he moved me up to 75mg and my liver went off the wall and that was only in two weeks so back to 50 and not doing so well, not sure what the next step is going to be...
I was diagnosed with UC in 2010. Ended up on prednisone for 9 months which was horrible. Started on 6mp in 2011 and had to go up to 150 mg for it to work. I am currently on 6mp 125mg with lialda and have only had one mild flare which was recently. I have had very few side effects, and so far 6mp has been great for me.
Took it for two weeks and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. It came on fast without a cough or even a sniffle. Severe chest pains and difficulty breathing, my Dr sent me to the ER. No more of that for me. Suppressing the immune system is not a good idea
6MP; so far so good
I was diagnosed with UC in August of 2012... I was first put on Lialda which worked for exactly 2 weeks... Then they switched me over to 6MP... Yes, when I first read about this medication, I was a little concerned... But I was also desperate for my life back and so decided to give it a try... It's not disappointed me... I was prepared for the hair loss, and nausea, etc... After almost 2 years, I've had none of that... Well, I take that back... Before I figured out that you need to eat before you take the med, I did experience some very light nausea... But after a few days I figured out to eat, THEN take the pill and that was the last time I experienced it... So my experience has been positive...
6MP huge help
I was diagnosed with UC 14.5 years ago. Flare ups were constant. Prednisone was always prescribed. I was on Salazapyrin which didn't seem to help at all. My last flare up was pretty bad. On cortisone for about 6 months. My specialist had been trying to get me to take purinethol for a while but I was too scared but after the 6 months on cortisone I thought I should give it a try. That was 7 years ago and I have only had one very very mild flare up since. A couple of days of cortisone suppository and it was gone. Purinethol has made a huge difference in my life. I only take 50 mg a day and the results of my last colonoscopy and every other colonoscopy was great. In remission. The only side effects I have are mild hair loss and a permanent rash on the back of my neck which resembles a birth mark. My specialist was talking about taking me off the medication but we are a bit worried that it might come back with a vengeance. It's known to happen. I don't want to risk it. I get a bit scared of the possibility of cancer but I am only on 50mg so I figure it's worth the risk. I am going to ask my doctor if I could go down to 25mg. My immune system seems to be fine. I don't get sick very often at all. My blood test are always great. IBS on the other hand is dreadful. I deal with that every day. I honestly don't know what's worse sometimes.
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.