Health professionals are advised to take care when prescribing and dispensing mercaptopurine and mercaptamine (cysteamine) bitartrate products.
In different countries, different names are used to describe the same medicinal ingredient. We are updating some medicine ingredient names used in Australia to align with names used internationally.
Cysteamine bitartrate is changing its name to mercaptamine (cysteamine) bitartrate. Medicines containing this ingredient will start to show mercaptamine (cysteamine) bitartrate as the ingredient name on their labels.
This new name (mercaptamine) sounds very similar to the existing ingredient name mercaptopurine.
Mercaptamine (cysteamine) bitartrate is used for metabolic conditions (the management of nephropathic cystinosis) and is available in a 50mg or 150mg tablet.
Mercaptopurine is used for treating cancer and auto-immune conditions (different forms of leukemia) and is available in a 50mg tablet and as an oral liquid.
There is a risk of severe consequences if these medicines are mistaken for each other and prescribed or dispensed in error.
Information for health professionals
Take care when prescribing, dispensing and administering medicines to make sure that the right product is selected.
The TGA cannot give advice about an individual's medical condition. You are strongly encouraged to talk with a health professional if you are concerned about a possible adverse event associated with a medicine or vaccine.
The Department of Health and Aged Care acknowledges First Nations peoples as the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to all Elders both past and present.