Consumer medicine information



Active ingredient(s): mercaptopurine monohydrate

Consumer Medicine Information (CMI)

This leaflet provides important information about using MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK. You should also speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you would like further information or if you have any concerns or questions about using MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK.

Where to find information in this leaflet:

2. What should I know before I use MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK?
3. What if I am taking other medicines?
5. What should I know while using MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK?
6. Are there any side effects?
7. Product details


MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK contains the active ingredient mercaptopurine monohydrate. MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK belongs to a group of medicines called antineoplastics, which are used in the treatment of cancer.

MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK is used to treat acute leukaemia and chronic granulocytic leukaemia, which are cancers of certain blood cells.

It works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells.

2. What should I know before I use MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK?



  • you are allergic to mercaptopurine monohydrate, or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
  • Always check the ingredients to make sure you can use this medicine.

Check with your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to azathioprine, a medicine used to suppress the immune system
  • have recently received or are receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy
  • have recently been vaccinated, or are planning to be vaccinated
  • have a condition where your body produces too little of a natural chemical called thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT)
  • have inflammatory bowel disease
  • have a condition called Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome
  • take any medicines for any other condition

During treatment, you may be at risk of developing certain side effects. It is important you understand these risks and how to monitor for them. See additional information under Section 6. Are there any side effects?

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Do not take MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK if you are planning to become pregnant, or father a child unless you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved.

As with other antineoplastic drugs, MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK may harm eggs and sperm. Reliable contraceptive methods must be used to avoid pregnancy whilst you or your partner is taking this medicine, and for at least 3 months after receiving the last dose of MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK.

Do not take MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK if you are pregnant unless you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved. It may affect your developing baby if you take it during pregnancy.

Do not take MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK whilst breastfeeding, as it has been found to pass into breast milk.

Monitoring and follow up

To check you are receiving the correct dose, and to detect any severe side effects, your doctor may carry out checkups and laboratory tests from time to time. These tests may include

  • Blood counts
  • Liver function tests
  • Kidney function tests

UV Exposure

Whilst using MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK, you may be more sensitive to sunlight. It is advised to limit exposure to the sun, wear protective clothing and use a sunscreen with a high protection.

3. What if I am taking other medicines?

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any medicines, vitamins or supplements that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Some medicines may interfere with MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK and affect how it works. These include:

  • Ribavirin, a medicine used to treat viral infections such as hepatitis C
  • Myelosuppressive agents, which may be used after transplants, as part of cancer treatment, or for inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Allopurinol, oxipurinol and/or thiopurinol and other xanthine oxidase inhibitors such as febuxostat, which are used for the treatment of gout
  • Aminosalicylate derivatives such as olsalazine, mesalazine or sulfasalazine, which are used for inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Methotrexate
  • Infliximab

MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK affects medicines used to treat or prevent blood clots e.g. warfarin

Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about what medicines, vitamins or supplements you are taking and if these affect MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK.


How much to take

MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK should be taken exactly as directed by your doctor.

Your doctor will decide what dose and for how long to take MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK depending on factors such as:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Pre-existing medical conditions such as kidney or liver disease
  • Response to treatment
  • Other medications

Your doctor may change the dose and frequency of your medicine over the course of treatment.


  • MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK should be used exactly as directed by your doctor.


Do not crush or chew the tablets.

  • MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK is an irritant to the eyes and skin. It is important to wash your hands immediately after handling the tablets. Avoid contact with eyes and be careful not to inhale any particle of the tablet.

If you forget to use MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK

MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK should be used exactly as directed by your doctor. If you miss your dose at the usual time, let your doctor or pharmacist know.

If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to.

Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose you missed.

Tell your doctor if, for any reason, you have not taken your medicine exactly as directed.

Otherwise, your doctor may think your treatment was not working as it should and make unnecessary adjustments to your therapy.

If you use too much MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK

If you think that you have used too much MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK, you may need urgent medical attention.

You should immediately:

  • phone the Poisons Information Centre
    (by calling 13 11 26), or
  • contact your doctor, or
  • go to the Emergency Department at your nearest hospital.

You should do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.

5. What should I know while using MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK?

Things you should do

See your doctor regularly so they can check your progress and make sure your medicine is working.

Inform any health care professionals you are seeing that you are on MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK, especially if you are about to be started on any new medicines, immunisations, vaccinations or radiotherapy.

Call your doctor straight away if you:

  • notice any signs of fever or infection or any unexpected bruising, bleeding or signs of blood in your urine.

Things you should not do

  • Do not stop taking this medicine or change the dose without first checking with your doctor.
  • Do not use MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK to treat any other complaints unless your doctor says to
  • Do not give this medicine to anyone else, even if their symptoms seem similar to yours.

Driving or using machines

Be careful before you drive or use any machines or tools until you know how MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK affects you.

Drinking alcohol

Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol.

Looking after your medicine

Keep your tablets in the bottle until it is time to take them.

Store it in a cool dry place away from moisture, heat or light; where the temperature stays below 25°C. For example, do not store it:

  • in the bathroom or near a sink, or
  • in the car or on window sills.

Keep it where young children cannot reach it.

Getting rid of any unwanted medicine

If you no longer need to use this medicine or it is out of date, take it to any pharmacy for safe disposal.

Do not use this medicine after the expiry date.

6. Are there any side effects?

All medicines can have side effects. If you do experience any side effects, most of them are minor and temporary. However, some side effects may need medical attention.

See the information below and, if you need to, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any further questions about side effects.

Less serious side effects

Less serious side effects What to do
Gastrointestinal disorders:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain

Blood and lymphatic system disorders:

  • production of bone marrow cells may be reduced. You may notice an increase in infections. Your doctor will do regular blood tests.

Metabolism and nutrition disorders:

  • Weight loss

Immune System disorders:

  • Painful, swollen joints
  • Skin rash
Speak to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects and they worry you.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects What to do
Signs of an allergic reaction such as:

  • Swelling of the face, lips or tongue
  • Rash
  • Redness
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing

Signs of liver problems:

  • Jaundice – yellowing of the whites of the eyes or the skin
  • Fever or chills
  • Light brown urine
Call your doctor straight away, or go straight to the Emergency Department at your nearest hospital if you notice any of these serious side effects.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything else that may be making you feel unwell.

Other side effects not listed here may occur in some people.

Reporting side effects

After you have received medical advice for any side effects you experience, you can report side effects to the Therapeutic Goods Administration online at By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

Always make sure you speak to your doctor or pharmacist before you decide to stop taking any of your medicines.

7. Product details

This medicine is only available with a doctor’s prescription.


Active ingredient
(main ingredient)
Mercaptopurine monohydrate
Other ingredients
(inactive ingredients)
Maize starch
Pregelatinized maize starch
Magnesium stearate
Stearic acid

Do not take this medicine if you are allergic to any of these ingredients.


MERCAPTOPURINE-LINK tablets are round, pale yellow coloured, and scored on one side (Aust R 306940).


5 Apollo Street
Warriewood, NSW 2102

This leaflet was prepared in September 2021.