6-MP Reviews

6-MP Medication

6-MP (Mercaptopurine)

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.

6-MP Reviews:

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6-MP Mercaptopurine immunosuppresant medication for treating ulcerative colitis SKU UPC Model

Jul 08, 2014 by Jen

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.


awful

Jun 01, 2014 by Janet

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

May 31, 2014 by Lamanda Gaskins

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

Feb 07, 2014 by Leanne

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

Oct 23, 2013 by Mara

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.


Tapering down

Jul 08, 2013 by Nikki

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.


Scary stuff

May 29, 2013 by Ken

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

Apr 17, 2013 by Ashlee

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.


Sad colon

Apr 15, 2013 by Richele

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

Apr 01, 2013 by nikki

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

Mar 31, 2013 by Christina

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.


6mp

Mar 30, 2013 by Trevor Ferguson

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

Mar 29, 2013 by Bethany

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.


DANGER!

Mar 29, 2013 by shelly

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

Mar 28, 2013 by joanna

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.


6MP

Mar 28, 2013 by Mona

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!


Mar 28, 2013 by Joe T.

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!


Mar 28, 2013 by Janene Gillen

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

Mar 28, 2013 by Heather

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.


2.7 5.0 19 19 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 12 6-MP Mercaptopurine

Tags: 6-MP, mercaptopurine

13 Responses to “6-MP Reviews”

  1. Liza GoyaMarch 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I’ve been on 6MP for about four months. I have developed liver cysts & will have another ultrasound in 5 months to see if they are stable. I am also on Remicade infusion, Lialda & Rowasa enema. I was in a flare for over a year & now finally in remission with this combination. Not much choices after these if they stop working.

  2. Joe TMarch 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    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. 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.

    • CowboymidFebruary 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      Btw – did you have the Thiopurine Metabolites test to discover the high liver enzymes and if so how far into treatment were you? I am having similar symptoms and my 6MMP levels after 13 weeks – it is supposed to be under 5700 and I am at 30,000+ .

  3. Paul WilloughbyMarch 29, 2013 at 4:24 am #

    After two weeks on 6-MP, I found out I was allergic to it. For me, it caused stiff joints and fever about 6 hours after taking it.

  4. carolMarch 29, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    Been on 6MP for about 6 weeks. Waiting for blood work to see how liver is doing. no problem first t2 weeks. Weeks 3 7 4 felt very nauseous and exhausted. Likened it to my extreme morning sickness I had with my pregnancies. Week 5 has not been as bad. still on prednisone 10 mg. daily. See doctor this week to go over blood work and if I can start tapering off prednisone which I’ve been on again since Dec. ’12. Could not take Lialda. Extremely allergic to it. Chills, bleeding, nausea,headache, ripping apart gut. Afraid to start 6MP after the Lialda reaction.. Thank God this may work. Did think seriously about just going off meds and see what happens. I really felt poisoned by all the unnatural chemicals in my body BUT…who knows what could happen. I’m just diagnosed with UC since dec.’12. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I will always have this condition. It has shaken me up so much emotionally because I am 59 and always been blessed with good health. I should count my blessings, right?

  5. EricaMarch 29, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    My daughter has used 6mp on and off for two years. The first time it stopped working and they put her on Remicade which may have caused vasculitis in her left eye. She is now legally blind in that eye and will never be able to use the biologic meds like Remicade. She was put on Cytoxan infusions for the vasculitis which also put her colitis in remission. This is a very toxic drug so she could only be on it short term so the colitis came back. They put her back on 6mp but did the metabolic blood tests at Prometheus labs and discovered she needed to be on 300mg. This put her back into remission and allowed her to come off prednisone after two years of use. Now however, her liver counts are too high so they had to drop her to 50mg with allopurinol to help take uric acid out of the liver. She also has severe osteoporosis which is probably from a combination of 6mp, prednisone, and omeprazole. So far she is doing well and we will have her blood tested again to see if her liver counts are down. If not, I am not sure what is next…we kind of ran out of options. All in all…6mp did put her into remission with few side effects but it is very hard on the liver. She is tired all the time and has also had kidney stones but it is always hard to tell what actually comes from medication and what is just from the autoimmune disease itself.

    • CowboymidFebruary 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      I am very sorry to hear about your daughter.

      How high were her liver counts just before they brought her down to 50 mg of 6MP and allopurinol?

      How often are you taking blood tests to measure the liver enzymes?

      My doctor waited until I had abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue and an endoscopy before he recommended the Prometheus /TPMT test. Lost a lot of time, weight, blood, and medication money.

      Thanks

  6. StaciApril 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    I was diagnosed with U.C. at age 21 [approx. 7 years ago] and thought my world was ending as a junior in college. My doctor initially started me on Asacol, but within two weeks I was hospitalized for 5 days due to an rare allergic reaction, which caused pancreatitis. After my allergic reaction, my doctor prescribed prednisone and started me on 6-MP. Within six months I was off the prednisone and taking 75mg of 6-MP daily. I stayed in remission and was able to live a “normal” college life for 3 years without a single flare! No special diet or extreme measures – just 75mg of 6-MP. Since my three years of remission, I’ve had two flares [usually about 1 1/2 years apart] and my daily dosage has gone to 100mg. A month of prednisone ~25mg typically puts me into remission. I’m very fortunate that I do not have any adverse side effects… I’m very active [marathoner, tennis player, & surfer], I sleep fine, & can eat just about anything I want. Every 6-months I have blood work done to make sure my liver enzymes & white blood cell counts are normal. So far so good… The only thing that is now coming into play is the fact that I would like to have children one day, which means I would need to go off the 6-MP for at least six months before trying, which is sure to cause a flare.

    I am a huge fan of 6-MP [on it for almost 7 years now] and would recommend it to anyone who is having a hard time controlling his/her U.C. symptoms; however, it is very IMPORTANT to have regular blood testing while on this drug!

  7. JeffMay 21, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    I was diagnosed with UC at about the age of 26. Since then I have been on and off prednisone regiments along with Asacol etc.. You all the know drill! Finally I started 6mp and so far so good, no side effects. I’m a natural worrier so naturally I think about the rare side affects like Lymphoma but I try to tell myself, “what’s the alternative at this point other than surgery?” It’s good to hear that people have responded well to 6mp on here. When you read the FDA warnings it makes you want to stop the drug immediately but as you start reading user stories it helps put my mind at ease.

  8. cowboymidFebruary 22, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    Wow! I need some help with a decision. This has been a rough journey. I was diagnosed w U.C. in 2009 and on Lialda 4800mg/daily in remission until a Jan 2012 hospitalization/flare which then added Imuran 175mg/daily to the regiment. Coincidentally, shortly thereafter I got sinusitis and was to have surgery but because of the risk with autoimmune meds it would be dangerous. Worked with the GI to try going off of Imuran (staying on Lialda, probiotics, supplements etc…) and the sinusitis cleared up. I decided to stop taking Imuran because of that side effect and by November 2013 flared and ended up in the hospital released with a script for 6MP. 4 week appointment no improvement the doctor said wait until 6 to 8 weeks, 8 week appt. no improvement the doctor said it takes ‘at least 3 months’ then I started getting abdominal pain and reflux. I was given a script for Protoxin which did not work. Went in for a upper GI endoscopy which was ‘visually’ clear and was prescribed Dexilant which did not work. Biopsies were taken. The GI wrote lab orders for a TPMT (liver enzyme test). I called the doctor asking about the pain and reflux and he said up the 6MP from 150mg to 200mg or 33%. I asked him “Doctor, did you look at my blood work since I have been on this for 13 weeks”. He said he had not and would call me back. To my surprise he called back and told me my TPMT/6-MMP levels in Liver were 5 to 6x (30,000) the range of <5,700 and to CEASE taking 6MP immediately and call him in 3 days. No direction on LIVER damage (which I understand is repairable) nor what to do if I flare without my immunomodulator.
    1. Does anyone have experience with what happens after levels reach this drastic of an amount?
    2. How often do those on 6MP get tested OR do you recommend TPMT testing?
    3. Is my next option biologics since I cannot take Imuran nor 6MP?
    Alternatives to biologics? since my doctors have only increased dosage or gone to the next level of medications.
    Any advice on liver toxicity would be great as it applies to U.C. especially and anything I need to be on the look out for as well.
    Adam – this site is a gift. Thanks

  9. Jake S
    Jake S.February 24, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    Developed pacreatitis within 2 months or less of taking this (Imuran). Had to get weekly bloodwork…not a fun drug. Effective for a while, but side effects pretty substantial.

  10. Jacky fernandiMarch 11, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    My son been taking 6 mp for two years , he gets check up every 6 months , this medication has to be monitored very closely !! So far is working but I want to find other alternatives !!! I wish there was a cure for colitis !!!

  11. John T.May 24, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    I was diagnosed with UC back in the mid-90s. I went through the hell like most everyone who has this terrible affliction. I tried just about every remedy. The only thing that gave me relief was prednisone. I was on it, off it, on it, off it, you know the routine. I knew every public restroom within a 25-mile radius of my home. My doctor had been trying to talk me into trying 6-MP for quite a while. I was leery about it since it was a form of oral chemo. Out of desperation, I gave in. That was in late 2001. After a few months of ups and downs, the MP finally settled in. I have been symptom free since. Everything is normal. My blood tests are good. I have been thinking of weaning myself off 6-MP to see if I could go without it. I am afraid to do so. My doctor says yes, indeed, my UC could return if I did. I am wondering if anyone else stopped taking MP after good results such as mine and what the consequences were.

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