6-MP (6-Mercaptopurine) and Imuran (Azathioprine) are under the class of medications called immunosuppressants. They work by suppressing a part of the immune system that is overacting and responsible for the inflammation in the body.
6-MP and Imuran are used to induce remission (make you feel better) and are also effective maintenance drugs that will reduce the chances of a flare. This requires the medication to be taken on a regular basis.
This medication comes in pill form and is taken once daily. There are 2 ways to start on therapy:
Full Dose Start: 1 in 300 people do not have the enzyme needed to break down this medication in the body. A special blood test can be done to measure that particular enzyme activity. This test is done at St. Paul’s Hospital on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and will cost $50. The results usually take 2-3 weeks. If this test is done, you can start on the full dose of 6-MP or Imuran at the start of therapy.
Low Dose Start: If the blood test is not done, it is necessary to start at a lower dose of the medication for 2 weeks. Start with 1 pill per day. After 2 weeks, you may increase your dose to the full amount. Please call the office prior to increasing your dose.
6-MP and Imuran take approximately 2-3 months before you can see the full benefits of their effects.
These medications are relatively safe during pregnancy but family planning should be discussed with the doctor for more information.
Yes, but it is important to consume in moderation as the combination of these drugs and alcohol can increase stress on the liver.
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