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Mercaptopurine is used in the treatment of ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, testicular cancer., breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), blood cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer and urinary bladder cancer.

How it works

Mercaptopurine belongs to a group of purine antagonists and immunosuppressant. It prevents the growth and spread of the cancer cells.

Common side effects

Nausea, Acute toxicity, Chills, Cough, Rash, Stomach upset, Vomiting, Fatigue


Expert advice

  • Do not drink milk or consume milk product while taking mercaptopurine.
  • Do not consume alcohol or alcoholic beverages while undergoing treatment with mercaptopurine as it may worsen the side effects.
  • Inform your doctor if you are suffering conditions like chickenpox, infections, and kidney or liver diseases.
  • Inform doctors that you are taking mercaptopurine if you are planning to undergo surgery, including dental surgery.
  • Stop taking mercaptopurine and inform your doctor if you see signs of infection, bleeding issues like blood spots in stools and skin.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take if allergic to mercaptopurine or any of its ingredients.
  • Do not take if patient Breastfeeding women.

Frequently asked questions


Q.Is mercaptopurine a steroid?
No, Mercaptopurine is not a steroid

Q.Is mercaptopurine safe?
Mercaptopurine is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor

Q.Does mercaptopurine affect fertility?
Mercaptopurine may cause loss of fertility.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 November, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)