Imuran (Azathioprine) Dosage and Side Effects
IMURAN is used along with other medicines to prevent organ rejection after a kidney transplant. The drug is also used to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease.
Proper Use of this medication
IMURAN comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It's typically taken once or twice a day after meals.
Dosage is based on your weight, medical condition, and response to treatment.
You should follow the directions on your prescription label when taking this drug. Don't take more or less of the medicine than is prescribed.
Try to take IMURAN around the same time each day. You can take this drug with or without food.
If you're taking IMURAN to treat rheumatoid arthritis, your physician may start you on a low dose and then gradually increase it.
Once your condition is controlled, your doctor may decrease your dose again.
If you're taking this drug to prevent organ rejection, your doctor may start you on a high dose and then decrease it as your body adjusts to the transplant.
If you suspect an overdose, you should contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
Missed Dose of IMURAN
If you miss a dose of IMURAN, take it as soon as you remember.
However, if it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular medication schedule.
Don't double up on doses to make up for a missed one.
Common Side Effects of IMURAN
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or don't go away:
Serious Side Effects of IMURAN
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms listed in the Warning section or any of the following severe side effects:
- Muscle pain
Warnings and Precautions
IMURAN carries a black-box warning because it may increase your risk of developing certain cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, and skin cancer.
However, if you have a kidney transplant, you may be at a higher risk for developing cancer even if you don't take IMURAN.
Tell your doctor if you've ever had cancer or if you've ever taken any of the following drugs:
- Chlorambucil (Leukeran)
- Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
- Melphalan (Alkeran)
Avoid unnecessary exposure to sunlight to decrease your risk of skin cancer while taking IMURAN. You should wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen when outdoors.
Some teenagers and young males who took this drug alone or with another medicine known as a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker to treat Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis developed a serious type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma (HSTCL).
IMURAN is not approved by the FDA to treat Crohn's or ulcerative colitis, but some doctors may prescribe the medicine off-label.
You should call your doctor immediately if you are taking the drug for Crohn's or ulcerative colitis and experience the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Stomach pain or tenderness
- Night sweats
- Easy bleeding or bruising
IMURAN may also cause a decrease in blood cells in your bone marrow, which can lead to serious or life-threatening infections.
Certain medicines may also increase this risk when taken with IMURAN. Tell your doctor if you are taking:
- ACE inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril, enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril, lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), Ramipril (Altace), or trandolapril (Mavik)
- Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
- Ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Virazole)
You should also call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pale skin
- Excessive fatigue
- Fast heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sore throat
- Other signs of an infection
Your health care provider will probably order tests to check your blood cells and liver enzymes during your treatment with IMURAN.
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to IMURAN or any other medications.
This medicine controls symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but it doesn't cure it. It might take up to 12 weeks before you feel the full benefits.
Don't stop taking IMURAN without first talking to your doctor.
You should tell your doctor you are taking this drug before having any type of surgery, including a dental procedure.
Don't have any vaccinations during or after your treatment with IMURAN without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor if you have or have had:
- Any type of infection
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Any blood disorder
- TPMT deficiency (an enzyme disorder)
IMURAN for Dogs and Cats
IMURAN may be used in dogs to treat certain conditions such as the following:
- Hemolytic anemia
- Arthritis and skin disease caused by an immune problem
- Chronic liver, kidney, or stomach diseases
- Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count)
The drug may also be used in very low doses to treat cats with certain skin disorders caused by an immune disorder.
IMURAN can increase the risk of infection in a pet, so owners should monitor their animals for unusual symptoms.
IMURAN and Pregnancy
IMURAN might harm an unborn baby.
You shouldn't take this drug during pregnancy, or if there's a chance you may become pregnant.
Tell your doctor immediately if you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this medicine. You should use birth control if you're able to become pregnant while taking IMURAN.
Most evidence finds that breastfeeding is safe while taking IMURAN, but talk to your doctor about breastfeeding while taking the drug.
Interactions with this medication
You should tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking while taking IMURAN, or any of the following:
- Allopurinol (Zyloprim)
- Aminosalicylates such as mesalamine (Apriso, Asacol, Pentasa, others), olsalazine (Dipentum), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
- Blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin)
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.