Azathioprine-oral

Name: AZATHIOPRINE-ORAL

How to use

Take this medication by mouth, usually once or twice daily as directed by your doctor. Azathioprine should be taken with food to reduce stomach upset. Dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to therapy. For the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the manufacturer recommends that you do not take more than 2.5 milligrams per kilogram per day.Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often without your doctor's approval. Your condition will not improve any faster and the risk of serious side effects may be increased. Also do not stop taking this medication without your doctor's approval.Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time(s) each day.For arthritis, it may take up to 2 months of continued use to notice relief of symptoms. Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve after 3 months of treatment.Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle or break the tablets of this medication.

Precautions

Before taking azathioprine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it, or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, blood disorders, decreased bone marrow function, history of cancer (such as lymphoma), active infections, certain enzyme disorder (TPMT deficiency).Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received polio vaccine by mouth or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.Since this medication can increase your risk of developing serious infections, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections. Avoid contact with people who have illnesses that may spread to others (e.g., flu, chickenpox).Use caution with sharp objects like safety razors or nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured.Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, the elderly may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug.This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Consult your doctor for more details. It is recommended that men and women use two effective forms of birth control (e.g., condoms, birth control pill) while taking this medication. However, this medication can decrease the effectiveness of intrauterine devices (IUDs). This can result in pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about other effective birth control choices.This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Therefore, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Uses

Azathioprine is used to prevent organ rejection in people who have received a kidney transplant. It is usually taken along with other medications to allow your new kidney to function normally. Azathioprine is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. In this condition, the body's defense system (immune system) attacks healthy joints. Azathioprine belongs to a class of drugs known as immunosuppressants. It works by weakening the immune system to help your body accept the new kidney as if it were your own (in the case of an organ transplant) or to prevent further damage to your joints (in the case of rheumatoid arthritis).

Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of azathioprine, especially when used in children and young adults.

How to use Azathioprine

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice daily. Take this medication with food to reduce stomach upset.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of serious side effects will increase.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.

For the treatment of arthritis, it may take up to 2 months before your symptoms get better. Tell your doctor if your condition does not get better after 3 months of treatment.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.

Side Effects

See also Warning section.

Nausea or vomiting may occur. Taking this medication after meals may help lessen these effects. Temporary hair loss may also occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk ofside effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: diarrhea, new or worsening joint/muscle pain.

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: symptoms of liver disease (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin).

This medication may increase your risk of getting a rare but very serious (possibly fatal) brain infection (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy-PML). Get medical help right away if you have any of these side effects: clumsiness, loss of coordination/balance, weakness, sudden change in your thinking (such as confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory loss), difficulty talking/walking, seizure, vision changes.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

List Azathioprine side effects by likelihood and severity.

Precautions

Before taking azathioprine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it, or to mercaptopurine; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, a certain enzyme disorder (TPMT deficiency).

This medication may increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Your doctor may direct you to avoid phototherapy while you use this product. Ask your doctor for details.

Azathioprine can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using azathioprine. Azathioprine may harm an unborn baby. Ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.

This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

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