Thiopurines are the mainstay of medical management in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), especially in the maintenance of disease remission. Given the limited IBD armamentarium it is important to optimize each therapy before switching to an alternative drug. Conventional weight based dosing of thiopurines in IBD leads to intolerance or inefficacy in many patients. More recently increased knowledge of their metabolism has allowed for dose optimization using thiopurine metabolite levels, namely 6-thioguanine nucleotides and 6-methylmercaptopurine, with the potential for improved outcomes in patients with IBD. This review will outline the current understanding of thiopurine metabolism and pharmacogenomics and will describe the clinical application of this knowledge in the optimization of thiopurines in individual patients.
- inflammatory bowel disease
- thiopurine methyl transferase