Crohn's and Colitis Support
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Has anyone had liver problems whilst on Mercaptopurine?

Hi everyone,

In as brief as I can I was diagnosed with UC in May this year with a severe flare, no drug treatment has worked so far - 3 different types of enemas, Pentasa, 2 courses of Prednisolone and now Mercaptopurine (6MP).

My IBD Nurse rang me yesterday to tell me that my weekly blood test whilst on the Mercaptopurine has shown 'liver irritation' so if this has not gone down by my next blood test next week they will stop this treatment. Has anyone else ever experienced a raised LFT result? I'm trying to be optimistic it's just a blip and the LFT result will improve next week. I'll be so upset if we have to stop because I was trying to be so optimistic this 6MP will help (it's not yet but I've only been on it 6 weeks and I've been told it can take 12 weeks to work) and it'll be 6 weeks of putting up with nausea for nothing!

The other thing is - what will be the next course of treatment for me if this has to be stopped? Are we running out of options?

Thanks for any advice,


8 Replies

Hi, I didn't have a problem with 6mp but it is one of te side effects, hence why they check bloods regularly. fingers crossed it will settle down. It does take 12 weeks to geto a therapeutic level, but this also means it takes a while to get out of your system if you need to stop it - sorry

There is another mesalazine tablet called asacol, and also an older med called sulphasalazine. Methotrexate is an immunosuppressant like 6mp, and can be used when other meds fail, however Drs try to avoid in women at child bearing age. There are also the biologics which come as injections and infusions, so dont give up hope x


Hi ClairAlice2 you could try slightly reducing the amount of mp6 if you still have raised lft I did and it worked


Thank you for your responses, my IBD Nurse did say they will stop treatment without mentioning the suggestion of a reduction of Mercaptopurine so I can ask her if that is an option when (or if) they stop treatment.

Can I ask; did Mercaptopurine work for you two, and can you remember how long it took to work?



Yes I’m still on Mercaptopurine 6, it only semi worked for me so I am on Humira penn injection and finally have no symptoms at all after a couple of rough years


Well that's good to hear! Do you remember in the early stages of taking Mercaptopurine how long the side effects of nausea lasted (if you did indeed get that?) - I've been on it 5.5 weeks and still feel sick (have never actually been sick) but have lost weight


Sorry yes it took about 10weeks before there was a definite improvement


Hi, I was on mp6 for a year and it worked well but then I went into hospital, with another condition, and while I was there a fantastic dr who specialised in liver disease was covering the weekend. She asked if I had any problems with my liver I said no it’s fine. She was worried about something and after sending me for a few tests, including a scan of the liver, she diagnosed an enlarged and damaged liver. I was taken off the mp6 and was told never to take them again. After a few weeks the liver returned to normal but I am not able to take mp6 ever again.

I was told that while taking mp6 one is meant to have a blood test every 6 weeks, part of the test is to check for ones liver function and condition.

Apparently the liver is able to regenerate itself if it is still healthy but I can not ever take mp6 again. Shame because is was the only thing that was successful in controlling a flair up.

So I guess what I am saying is that i believe it’s ok as long as you have the regular checks on your liver. So I would say ask your dr about any concerns and mention the regular checks on your liver.

Take care Bx


Thank you for your advice silver badger, I'm still getting high liver readings on blood tests so they have lowered my dose and I wait to see if the LFT lowers accordingly so I remain on weekly blood tests. I've been sent all the info on biologic treatment incase we have to stop the Mercaptopurine. I hope not though it's now been 9 weeks and it's still not improving my symptoms. I remain hopeful!!


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