Imuran belongs to a class of drugs known as immunosuppressants. This medication is used with other medications to prevent rejection of a kidney transplant. It works by weakening your body's defense system (immune system) to help your body accept the new kidney as if it were your own. Imuran is also used to treat patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded to other medications. Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be caused by the immune system attacking the joints. Early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with more aggressive therapy such as azathioprine helps to reduce further joint damage and to preserve joint function. This medication may also be used to prevent rejection of other transplanted organs, to treat certain types of bowel conditions (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) that is not responsive to usual treatment, and to treat other immune system problems (autoimmune diseases).
Take Imuran exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The recommended starting dose of Imuran for preventing kidney transplant rejection is 3 mg to 5 mg per kg once daily, starting the day of (or sometimes a few days before) the transplant. Your doctor may decrease your dose to 1 mg to 3 mg per kg once daily if you are doing well. The recommended starting dosage for rheumatoid arthritis treatment is 1 mg per kg per day, usually between 50 mg to 100 mg per day. It can be taken once daily or split up into two doses per day. The medication should be taken at the same time each day. You can take it with or without food. If the medication bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
Before taking Imuran you should talk with your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, blood disorders, decreased bone marrow function, cancer (such as lymphoma), any type of viral, bacterial, or fungal infection, certain enzyme disorder. Do not have immunizations or vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have illnesses that may spread to others.
Do not use Imuran if you are allergic to azathioprine or any ingredients of the medication, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Possible side effect
Get emergency medical help if you have pale skin, bleeding, unusual weakness, severe nausea, fever, chills, stomach pain, sore throat, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), vomiting, body aches, muscle pain, flu symptoms, diarrhea, fast heart rate, loss of appetite, dark urine, hair loss, skin rash, difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of your face, lips, tongue. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially: aminosalicylates (olsalazine, balsalazide, sulfasalazine), allopurinol, ACE inhibitors (captopril, ramipril, lisinopril, enalapril), sulfamethoxazole, infliximab, blood thinners (warfarin, enoxaparin). Interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking.
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. Skip the missed dose if it is time for your next scheduled dose. Don't take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
If you think you have overdosed the medicine seek emergency medical help at once. The overdose symptoms are bone marrow depression, bleeding, infections, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, loss of life.
Store the medicine at room temperature between 59-77 degrees F (15-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store the drugs in the bathroom. Keep all drugs away from reach of children and pets.
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