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Description of Imuran

Brand Name(s): Azasan, Imuran

Generic Name Azathioprine

What are azathioprine tablets?

AZATHIOPRINE (Imuran®) 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. Generic azathioprine tablets are available.

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 drug(s) may interact with azathioprine?

  • allopurinol
  • antithyroid agents
  • carbamazepine
  • clozapine
  • 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
  • diarrhea
  • 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

What should I watch for while taking azathioprine?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Your prescriber or health care professional may schedule regular blood checks. Do not stop taking your medicine except on your prescriber's advice.

Azothioprine can cause blood problems. This can mean slow healing and a risk of infection. Try and avoid anyone with a cold, flu, bronchitis, or who has recently had oral polio vaccine. It is better not to have any vaccinations while you are taking azathioprine. Problems can arise if you need dental work, and in the day to day care of your teeth. Try to avoid damage to your teeth and gums when you brush or floss your teeth. Try and avoid other causes of injury, such as contact sports.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking azathioprine.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 °C (59 and 77 °F). Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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