Where is Azathioprine used?

Azathioprine is used in people who have received a kidney transplant. It is for the prevention of organ rejection. This is usually taken along with other medications to allow your new kidney to function normally.

This prescription may also be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. In this condition, the body’s defense system or immune system attacks healthy joints. Azathioprine is an immunosuppressive antimetabolite. This medication contains Azathioprine and is a precursor of a drug. It is converted in the body to its active form called mercaptopurine (Purinethol). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this medication.  

How does Azathioprine work?

Azathioprine helps weaken your immune system to help your body receive the new kidney as if it were your own. It is in the instance of an organ transplant or to avoid additional damage to your joints. It happens to be in the case of rheumatoid arthritis.

How is Azathioprine taken?

The recommended dosage for this medication will depend on your condition and response. This should be taken by mouth with food to reduce stomach upset. Use this regularly to get the most benefit from it. Follow your doctor’s prescription promptly.

  • If you are taking this medicine to avoid kidney transplant rejection, your doctor will give you a high dose and reduce your dosage slowly as your body adjusts to the transplant.
  • If you are taking this medicine for rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor may start giving you a low dose and slowly increase it after 6 to 8 weeks. It must not be more than once every 4 weeks. Your doctor may slowly decrease your dosage when your condition is controlled.

Before you feel the full benefit of this medication, it may take up to 12 weeks. Azathioprine prevents transplant rejection only as long as you are taking the medication. Continue to take the medicine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking a dose without consulting your doctor.

What are the possible side effects of Azathioprine?

  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Pale skin
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Mild upset stomach

If these persist or get worse, call for medical help right away.

What are the precautions in using Azathioprine?

  • Before using this, consult your doctor first if you are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman.
  • Inform your doctor if you have any allergies, medical history, or current medications.
  • Do not share this or any of your medications with others who have the same condition as yours.
  • You might be asked to have regular blood tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine and to monitor your response to the medication. This is important while you are taking this medicine.
  • Make sure that you always have enough medication on hand. Check your supply before any other occasions when you may not be able to fill your prescription.
  • To avoid complications, do not twice the given dosage.
  • Keep this away from the heat or direct sunlight.
  • Keep this far from the reach of children or pets.