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Azathioprine

BRAND NAME: IMURAN®

Azathioprine is available as an oral tablet and suspension.

What is this medication for?


Azathioprine lowers your immune system in order to prevent rejection of your transplanted organ. It prevents an increase in the number of white blood cells that could attack and damage your new organ.

How should I take this medication?


Azathioprine may be taken with or without food. Taking it with food will decrease stomach upset. Be consistent, if you take it with food, always take it with food; if you take it on an empty stomach, always take it on an empty stomach. 

Do NOT take medications for gout called allopurinol (Zyloprim®) and febuxostat (Uloric®) while on azathioprine; this may result in very severe side effects!

Blood pressure medications called ACE inhibitors such as: benazepril (Lotensin®), captopril (Capoten®), enalapril (Vasotec®), fosinopril (Monopril®), lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil®), quinapril (Accupril®), ramipril (Altace®), trandolapril (Mavik®), perindopril (Coversyl®) may cause a lowering of your white and red blood cells when taken with azathioprine. Be sure to notify your transplant team if you begin any of these medications as additional blood monitoring may be required.

Azathioprine can lower the number of your white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at an increased risk for infection and bleeding. Regular blood work will be done to check your blood cell counts.

What are some possible side effects of this medication?

Take azathioprine with food. These side effects usualy resolve with continued use. Notify your doctor if symptoms persist or are very bothersome.

Fever or chills, cough, sore throat or pain or difficulty passing urine.

 

Bruising, tarry stools, vomiting of blood or blood in the urine.

 

Weakness or tiredness, fainting spells, light-headedness.

 

This is an uncommon side effect. Notify your doctor if you experience yellow coloured skin or eyes or stomach or abdominal pain. You will have regular blood work done to monitor your liver function.

This is an uncommon side effect. Notify your doctor if you experience yellow coloured skin or eyes or stomach or abdominal pain. You will have regular blood work done to monitor your liver function. 

Check with your doctor if any of these are bothersome or persistent.

 

Taking this medication may increase your risk of skin and other cancers. Please inform your transplant team if you are diagnosed with cancer. For additional information please see section on “Cancer Risk”.

 


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