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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 of breath.

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 elsewhere.

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 azathioprine.




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