The use of 6-mercaptopurine in patients with inflammatory bowel disease after failure of azathioprine therapy
Article first published online: 2 JAN 2002
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 14, Issue 12, pages 1561–1565, December 2000
How to Cite
Boulton-Jones, J. R., Pritchard, K. and Mahmoud, A. A. (2000), The use of 6-mercaptopurine in patients with inflammatory bowel disease after failure of azathioprine therapy. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 14: 1561–1565. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2000.00872.x
- Issue published online: 2 JAN 2002
- Article first published online: 2 JAN 2002
Azathioprine is a useful therapy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease that is difficult to control. However, 10% of patients are unable to tolerate azathioprine, and the best form of treatment for this group of patients is unknown. The azathioprine metabolite 6-mercaptopurine may be a useful therapy for these patients.
To review our clinical experience of the use of the 6-mercaptopurine in inflammatory bowel disease patients who are intolerant of azathioprine.
All patients who were prescribed 6-mercaptopurine in a 2-year period were identified from pharmacy records. The case notes were reviewed and those who had previously been intolerant of azathioprine were included.
A total of 19 with either ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease were included. The reasons for discontinuing azathioprine were side-effects (13 patients), failure of efficacy (four patients) and leucopenia (two patients). Eleven of the 19 patients (68%) tolerated 6-mercaptopurine, including seven out of 13 patients (54%) who discontinued azathioprine due to side-effects. The length of follow-up of patients on 6-mercaptopurine was between 126 and 780 days (median 390 days).
6-mercaptopurine should be considered in patients with inflammatory bowel disease who require continuing immunosuppressive therapy, but are intolerant of azathioprine.