What do azathioprine tablets do?
AZATHIOPRINE (Imuran(R)) is an immunosuppressive agent. It can suppress or reduce the body’s natural immunity, making it less able to fight infections and preventing the rejection of “foreign bodies”. Azathioprine reduces unwanted immune responses and helps to prevent rejection in patients who receive organ transplants. The response of the immune system may contribute to arthritis, and azathioprine helps to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis.
What should my health care professional know before I take azathioprine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
• any infection
• cancer or cancer treatments (radiation)
• kidney disease
• liver disease
• receiving intramuscular injections
• recent vaccinations
• an unusual or allergic reaction to azathioprine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
• pregnant or trying to get pregnant
• breast feeding
How should I take this medicine?
Take azathioprine tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. If azathioprine upsets your stomach, take it with food or milk. Take your doses at regular intervals, try and take your medicine at the same time each day. Do not take it more often than directed. Continue to take your medicine even if you feel better. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber’s advice.
Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What if I miss a dose?
If you only take one dose a day and forget until the next day, do not take a double dose. If you take more than one dose a day and miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What other medicines can interact with azathioprine?
• antithyroid agents
• medicine for mental problems and psychotic disturbances
• medicines that suppress the immune system
• hormones such as hydrocortisone, cortisone, fludrocortisone, prednisone
• zidovudine, AZT
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.
What side effects may I notice from taking azathioprine?
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:
• dark yellow or brown urine
• black, tarry stools
• fever; chills; sore throat
• lower back pain
• joint pain
• mouth sores
• muscle pain
• pain or difficulty passing urine
• stomach pain
• swelling of the feet or legs
• unusual bleeding or bruising, red spots on the skin
• unusual or sudden weight gain
• unusual tiredness or weakness
• yellowing of skin or eyes
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
• hair loss
• loss of appetite
• nausea, vomiting
• skin rash, itching