Brand names - Azamune, Berkaprine, Immunoprin, Imuran
Medication type - Immunosuppressant (cytotoxic)
Common side effects - Moderate nausea and vomiting;
loss of appetite.
Rare side effects - Liver problems, skin rash, sores
in mouth, stomach pain, swelling of feet or lower legs, shortness
Serious side effects - Rapid heartbeat; sudden fever
or chills; back, side, muscle, or joint pain; unusual tiredness
or weakness; cough or hoarseness; shortness of breath; black, tarry
stools; blood in urine or stools; difficult or painful urination;
severe or sudden stomach pain with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
red spots, red patches, or blisters on skin; unusual bleeding or
bruising; abrupt or sudden, unusual feeling of discomfort or illness.
These may be signs of serious infection, bleeding emergencies, or
gastrointestinal problems. Seek immediate medical assistance.
Uses - To treat SLE & rheumatoid arthritis by
slowing down immune cells that cause inflammation in joints and
Other notes - Takes 4-8 weeks to take effect. Take
it with food or immediately following a meal to reduce stomach irritation.
Prolonged use increases the risk of side effects and the possibility
of cancer. Avoid alcohol. Do not use this drug if you are pregnant.
It should not be used by either the male or the female partners
if you are trying to become pregnant. Azathioprine passes into breast
milk; avoid or discontinue use while nursing. Infection is a great
threat to people with suppressed immune systems. Azathioprine may
lower your ability to resist infection by lowering the number of
white blood cells in the blood. Do not receive any vaccinations
without approval from your doctor. Avoid people with infections.
Azathioprine may also suppress platelets (the blood components that
control blood coagulation), and thus cause bleeding problems. Use
care with scissors, nail clippers, nail files, razors, toothbrushes,
dental floss, or toothpicks. Inform your dentist that you are taking