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azathioprine

azathioprine

Pronunciation: ay za THYE oh preen

Brand: Azasan, Imuran

Azathioprine 50 mg-GG

oblong, yellow, imprinted with GG 210

Image of Azathioprine 50 mg-GG
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Azathioprine 50 mg-ROX

round, yellow, imprinted with 54043

Image of Azathioprine 50 mg-ROX
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Imuran 50 mg

peanut, yellow, imprinted with IMU RAN 50

Image of Imuran 50 mg
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What is the most important information I should know about azathioprine?

Multum nopreg

Do not use azathioprine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Multum emt

Some people using azathioprine have developed a rare fast-growing type of lymphoma (cancer). This condition affects the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, and it can be fatal. This has occurred mainly in teenagers and young adults using azathioprine or similar medicines to treat Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Multum donot

Call your doctor at once if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, night sweats, itching, loss of appetite, weight loss, tiredness, feeling full after eating only a small amount, pain in your upper stomach that may spread to your shoulder, nausea, easy bruising or bleeding, pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Multum emt

Azathioprine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. Your blood may need to be tested often. Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding injury. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

If you need to have surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using azathioprine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

This medication can affect fertility (your ability to have children), whether you are a man or a woman. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about this.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with azathioprine and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you.

What is azathioprine?

Azathioprine lowers your body's immune system. The immune system helps your body fight infections. The immune system can also fight or "reject" a transplanted organ such as a liver or kidney. This is because the immune system treats the new organ as an invader.

Azathioprine is used to prevent your body from rejecting a transplanted kidney. It is also used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Azathioprine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking azathioprine?

Multum donot

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to azathioprine.

Multum emt

Some people using azathioprine have developed a rare fast-growing type of lymphoma (cancer). This condition affects the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, and it can be fatal. This has occurred mainly in teenagers and young adults using azathioprine or similar medicines to treat Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

However, people with autoimmune disorders (including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriasis) may have a higher risk of lymphoma. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk.

To make sure you can safely take azathioprine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease;
  • any type of viral, bacterial, or fungal infection; or
  • if you have recently received chemotherapy treatments with medications such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), chlorambucil (Leukeran), melphalan (Alkeran).
Multum nopreg

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use azathioprine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Multum nobrfeed

Azathioprine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using azathioprine.

This medication can affect fertility (your ability to have children), whether you are a man or a woman. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about this.

How should I take azathioprine?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Multum water

Take azathioprine with a full glass of water.

Multum food

Take azathioprine with food to lessen stomach upset.

Multum emt

Azathioprine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

Multum emt

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using azathioprine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Multum rt

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you take this medicine once daily and you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

If you take this medicine more than once daily and you miss a dose, take the medicine as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, take both doses together, then go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Multum emt

Call your doctor if you have missed more than one dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Multum emt

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, bleeding, fever, chills, and other signs of infection.

What should I avoid while taking azathioprine?

Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Multum donot

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using azathioprine, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), oral polio, rotavirus, smallpox, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), H1N1 influenza, and nasal flu vaccine.

What are the possible side effects of azathioprine?

Multum emt

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Multum donot

Stop using azathioprine and call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms of lymphoma:

  • fever, night sweats, weight loss, tiredness;
  • feeling full after eating only a small amount;
  • pain in your upper stomach that may spread to your shoulder;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate; or
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Multum donot

Stop using azathioprine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:

  • signs of infection (fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, weakness, muscle pain, flu symptoms);
  • severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
  • pain or burning with urination; or
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite;
  • hair loss; or
  • skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect azathioprine?

Before taking azathioprine, tell your doctor if you are taking, have taken, or need to take any of the following medicines:

  • allopurinol (Zyloprim);
  • mercaptopurine (Purinethol);
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Immunex);
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);
  • olsalazine (Dipentum), or sulfasalazine (Azulfidine);
  • sulfamethoxasole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim, SMX-TMP, others); or
  • an ACE inhibitor such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), fosinopril (Monopril), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), or trandolapril (Mavik).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with azathioprine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about azathioprine.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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