This page contains brief details about the drug , it's indication, dosage & administaration, mechanism of action, related brands with strength, warnings and common side effects.

Background and Date of Approval

Thioguanine consists of the active ingredient as thioguanine. It is indicated to treat blood cancers, namely acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Acute myelogenous leukemia is a rapidly progressing disorder that increases the number of white blood cells produced by the bone marrow. This can cause infections and bleeding. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) refers to the accumulation of white blood cells that have not matured due to the abnormal production of white blood cells in the bone marrow. This condition is more prevalent among children aged below 5. Thioguanine was initially approved by the US FDA in 1966 for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.

Mechanism of Action of undefined

Thioguanine is an antimetabolite medication that interferes with the DNA and RNA synthesis process in cancer cells, causing them to undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis. By preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells, it can help to induce remission or prolong survival for patients with leukemia. This medicine is often used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to increase its effectiveness.

Uses of undefined

Thioguanine uses in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

Thioguanine is usually taken orally in the form of tablets. The tablets should be swallowed whole with water or another liquid, and should not be crushed, chewed, or broken. It is generally recommended to take it on an empty stomach, either one hour before or two hours after meals, to help maximize its absorption and effectiveness. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


Thioguanine can cause bone marrow suppression, which can lead to decreased blood cell counts. This can increase the risk of infections, bleeding, and anemia. It may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including lymphoma and leukemia. The risk is highest in people who receive high doses of thioguanine or who take it for prolonged periods of time.

This medicine can cause a condition called hyperuricemia, which is an excess of uric acid in the blood. This can lead to gout or kidney stones. Also, this medication can cause skin reactions, including rash, itching, and photosensitivity. In rare cases, it can cause vision changes or other eye problems, including cataracts or optic neuritis. Sometimes this medication shows neurological side effects, including confusion, memory problems, and seizures.


Your healthcare provider will monitor your blood cell counts and uric acid level regularly during treatment with thioguanine. If you experience vision changes or other eye symptoms, neurological symptoms, and skin reactions seek medical attention immediately.

Side Effects

Thioguanine can cause a range of side effects, both mild and serious. Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and changes in taste. It may also cause bone marrow suppression, which can lead to anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia. Serious side effects may include liver toxicity, pulmonary toxicity, pancreatitis, and hypersensitivity reactions. It can also increase the risk of developing infections and may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers.

Word Of Advice

If you are taking thioguanine, it is important to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. Patients with a history of allergy to this medication or any of these components should avoid taking it. Pregnancy and breastfeeding women should be avoided while taking this medication. Women of reproductive potential should take contraceptives during and after several weeks of treatment. Patients should avoid consumption of grapefruit during treatment. Falls and sharp cuts should be avoided as this medication increases the tendency of bleeding and raises the risk of infection. Always follow the dosing instructions and precautions provided by your doctor, and report any side effects or adverse reactions to your healthcare provider. Never stop or modify your medication regimen without consulting your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Question


  1. Aspen Pharma Trading Limited, Electronic Medicines Compendium (EMC), [Revised on Sep 2017] [Accessed on 27th April 2023],
  2. H.G. Watson, J.I.O. Craig, L.M. Manson, Blood disease, Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine, 22nd Edition, 2014, 989-1056.
  3. Edward Chu, Cancer Chemotherapy, Lange’s Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, 14th Edition, 2018, 948-976
  4. Apsen Global Inc, U.S Drud and Food Safety Administration (FDA), [Revised on May, 2018], [Accessed on 27th April 2023]


The drug information on this page is not a substitute for medical advice. It is meant for educational purposes only. For further details, consult your doctor about your medical condition to know if you can receive this treatment.