Cancer medication PURINETHOL (MERCAPTOPURINE) is an antimetabolite used to treat certain types of cancer. PURINETHOL (MERCAPTOPURINE) cancer medication may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Indications And Clinical Uses: For remission induction, remission consolidation, and maintenance therapy of the acute leukemias. The response to this agent depends upon the particular sub-classification of the acute leukemia (lymphatic, myelogenous, undifferentiated) and the age of the patient (child or adult). Mercaptopurine is also indicated for the palliative treatment of chronic myelogenous (granulocytic) leukemia.
Acute Lymphatic (Lymphocytic, Lymphoblastic) Leukemia: Acute lymphatic leukemia occurring in children responds, in general, more favorably to mercaptopurine than the same disorder occurring in adults. Given as a single agent for remission induction, mercaptopurine induces complete remission in approximately 25% of children and 10% of adults. These results can be improved upon considerably by using multiple, carefully selected agents in combination. Reliance upon mercaptopurine alone is seldom justified. The duration of complete remission induced in children with acute lymphatic leukemia is so brief without the use of maintenance therapy that some form of drug therapy is considered essential following remission induction. Mercaptopurine, as a single agent, is capable of significantly prolonging complete remission duration in children; however, combination therapy with multiple agents has produced results superior to that achieved with mercaptopurine alone. The effectiveness of mercaptopurine in maintenance programs in adult acute lymphatic leukemia has not been established.
Acute Myelogenous (and Acute Myelomonocytic) Leukemia: As a single agent, mercaptopurine will induce complete remission in approximately 10% of children and adults with acute myelogenous leukemia or its sub-classifications. These results are inferior to those achieved with combination chemotherapy employing optimum treatment schedules.
Chronic Myelogenous (Granulocytic) Leukemia: Mercaptopurine is 1 of several agents with demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. Approximately 30 to 50% of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia obtain an objective response to mercaptopurine. This is less than the 90% objective responses with busulfan, and, of these two agents, busulfan is usually regarded as the preferred drug for initial therapy.
CNS Leukemia: Mercaptopurine is not effective for prophylaxis or treatment of CNS leukemia.
Other Neoplasms: Mercaptopurine is not effective in chronic lymphatic leukemia, the lymphomas (including Hodgkin's Disease), or solid tumors.
Contra-Indications: Mercaptopurine should not be used unless a diagnosis of acute leukemia or chronic myelogenous leukemia has been adequately established and the responsible physician is knowledgeable in assessing response to chemotherapy. Mercaptopurine should not be used in patients whose disease has demonstrated prior resistance to this drug. In animals and man there is usually complete cross-resistance between mercaptopurine and thioguanine. tag_WarningWarnings
PURINETHOL side effects, that may go away during PURINETHOL cancer medication treatment, include darkening of skin or mild diarrhea. If PURINETHOL side effects continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you experience PURINETHOL side effects like skin rash; unusual bruising or bleeding; yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes; abdominal pain or swelling; continuing or severe diarrhea; vomiting; swelling of the feet or legs; fever or chills; cough; or sore throat. If you notice other PURINETHOL side effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.