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  • Generic Name: (azathioprine)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 11/2014
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Imuran is a medicine used in combination with other medicines to help prevent organ rejection in people who have had a kidney transplant. Imuran is also used to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (a type of arthritis that involves inflammation of the joints).

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Your immune system is your body's defense against things that can cause infection and disease. Unfortunately, it cannot tell the difference between a harmful virus or bacteria and your new organ, so its natural response is to reject it. Imuran works by stopping your immune system from rejecting your new organ.

      Imuran is also thought to work by stopping your immune system from affecting your joints, thereby improving your symptoms.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: Imuran may extend survival in people receiving a transplant, and may improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Imuran exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

      How do I know it is working?

      Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check the amount of Imuran in your body and may ask you questions from time to time to assess how well this medication is working.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      Imuran can increase your risk of developing lymphoma (a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes) and other types of cancers (including skin cancer). Certain types of lymphoma have also occurred in people with inflammatory bowel disease.

      More common side effects may include: decrease in white blood cell counts, infections.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Stomach or intestinal problems, with symptoms such as severe nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, rash, or fever.

      Imuran may also cause low red blood cell or platelet (a type of blood cell that forms clots to help stop bleeding) counts, or serious infections.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not take Imuran if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

      Do not take Imuran if you are being treated for rheumatoid arthritis and are pregnant.

      Do not take Imuran if you have rheumatoid arthritis and had previous treatment with certain medicines (such as cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, or melphalan).

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Imuran. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney problems, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your weight, and may adjust your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

      If you have kidney impairment or are taking certain other medicines, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Take Imuran exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Imuran without first talking to your healthcare provider.

      Your healthcare provider may perform periodic blood counts. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience any unusual bleeding or bruising.

      Your healthcare provider may perform a certain blood test called TPMT, and may adjust the dose of Imuran appropriately.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not expose yourself to sunlight and ultraviolet light, such as tanning beds or sunlamps. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Imuran is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Imuran with the following: allopurinol, blood pressure/heart medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (such as enalapril or lisinopril), mesalazine, olsalazine, ribavirin, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, sulfasalazine, or warfarin.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      Imuran can harm your unborn baby if you take it during pregnancy, and can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Imuran. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      If you miss a dose of Imuran, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store at room temperature, in a dry place. Protect from light.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
      back to top Use your PDR® Pharmacy Discount Card when you or a family member fills a prescription and ask for your PDR® Discount every
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