Azathioprine is used in the prevention of rejection of kidney transplants. In addition, it can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
What is Azathioprine?
Azathioprine belongs to the class of so-called antimetabolites. It works by hindering the action of some cells of the immune system.
How is Azathioprine taken?
Azathioprine can be administered orally or intravenously . It may need to be taken in combination with other medicines.
Side effects of Azathioprine
Azathioprine may minimize the body’s ability to hinder infections, decrease blood platelet levels or cause other hematological problems. It can also increase the danger of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy and, if taken in the long term, of tumors. Other possible side effects include mild nausea and vomiting.
It is essential to notify the doctor immediately in the presence of:
- severe rash ;
- urticaria ;
- itching ;
- breathing problems;
- feeling of tightness or chest pain;
- swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue;
- severe or continuous nausea , diarrhea or vomiting;
- dizziness ;
- fatty stools;
- continuous fever, chills or sore throat;
- painful or more abundant urination than normal;
- muscle or joint pain;
- red, painful blisters or bumps on the arms, face, neck or back;
- shortness of breath;
- stomach pain;
- symptoms of liver disorders;
- bruising or bleeding;
- unusual growths;
- unusual weakness or tiredness;
- hot, red, swollen or painful skin;
- changes in the appearance or size of a mole.
Contraindications and warnings
Azathioprine may be contraindicated during pregnancy and while taking alkylating agents, Febuxostat or Mercaptopurine.
Before taking it, it is essential to warn your doctor :
- possible allergies to the active substance, to its excipients, to any other medicines, to foods or other substances;
- the drugs, phytotherapics and supplements taken, specifically mentioning DMARD, alkylating agents, TNF blockers, Mercaptopurine, Allopurinol , aminosalicylates, ACE inhibitors, Doxorubicin, Febuxostat, Ribavirin, Trimethoprim / Sulfametoxazole and Anticoagulants;
- if you suffer (or have suffered) from kidney, liver or gastrointestinal disorders, infections, tumors, bone marrow disorders, anemia , low levels of white blood cells or platelets, bleeding or unusual bruising and enzyme deficiencies;
- in the presence of recent blood transfusions;
- in the presence of recent or scheduled vaccination;
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding .
It is essential to inform the doctor, surgeons and dentists about taking Azathioprine and it is good to be informed about the use of contraceptive methods during therapy.