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Azathioprine Oral tablet

What is this medicine?

AZATHIOPRINE (ay za THYE oh preen) suppresses the immune system. It is used to prevent organ rejection after a transplant. It is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a full glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Continue to take your medicine even if you feel better. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • changes in vision

  • confusion

  • fever, chills, or any other sign of infection

  • loss of balance or coordination

  • severe stomach pain

  • unusual bleeding, bruising

  • unusually weak or tired

  • vomiting

  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • hair loss

  • nausea

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:

  • mercaptopurine

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • allopurinol

  • aminosalicylates like sulfasalazine, mesalamine, balsalazide, and olsalazine

  • leflunomide

  • medicines called ACE inhibitors like benazepril, captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, quinapril, lisinopril, ramipril, and trandolapril

  • mycophenolate

  • sulfamethoxazole; trimethoprim

  • vaccines

  • warfarin

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees C (59 and 77 degrees F). Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • infection

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to azathioprine, other medicines, lactose, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need frequent blood checks during the first few months you are receiving the medicine.

If you get a cold or other infection while receiving this medicine, call your doctor or health care professional. Do not treat yourself. The medicine may increase your risk of getting an infection.

Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information.

Men may have a reduced sperm count while they are taking this medicine. Talk to your health care professional for more information.

This medicine may increase your risk of getting certain kinds of cancer. Talk to your doctor about healthy lifestyle choices, important screenings, and your risk.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 2/12/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.