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What is Imuran?
Imuran is a brand name prescription medication. Its generic name is azathioprine. This medication belongs to a group of drugs called Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) or Immunosuppressant or immunosuppressive antimetabolites.
Imuran works by slowing down the production of new cells in the human body’s immune system, resulting in its suppression or weakening. Due to this mechanism of action, Imuran is used in kidney transplant patients to prevent the new kidney from being rejected.
This medication is also considered one of the options for rheumatoid arthritis treatment because it can suppress the blood cells that cause inflammation and stop the immune system from attacking the joints. This medication can reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as joint pain, swelling, and morning stiffness.
Imuran can also be used to manage the symptoms of moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC), an autoimmune disease. Doctors usually prescribe Imuran for people with moderate to severe UC who have tried other drugs such as amino salicylates and corticosteroids but didn’t help relieve their symptoms. Imuran reduces the chance of flare-ups, helps maintain remission, and may be used together with infliximab to induce remission. Yet these are considered off-label uses of this medication.
Off-label medication use means a medication that’s approved for one purpose is used for another different purpose that hasn’t yet been approved. However, a doctor can still use the medication for that purpose.
Imuran Dosages and Directions
Take Imuran regularly and exactly as prescribed by your physician. Do not stop using it unless your doctor tells you to do so. Read all the medication guide and instruction sheets and carefully follow all the instructions on the prescription label.
Imuran is available in tablet form containing 25 mg or 50 mg azathioprine and other inactive ingredients.
The initial dose of Imuran for rheumatoid arthritis treatment is approximately 1 mg per kg of body weight (50 to 100 mg) daily by mouth in a single dose or twice-daily schedule. The dose may be raised at 6 to 8 weeks and thereafter by steps at 4-week intervals if the initial response is unsatisfactory and if there are no serious toxicities. 0.5 mg per kg daily up to a maximum dose of 2.5 mg per kg per day should be the dose increment.
The dose of Imuran needed to prevent organ rejection and lessen toxicity will vary with individual patients. The starting dose is usually 3-5 mg per kg daily, starting on the day and time of transplant. It is usually given as a single dose per day on the day of and 1-3 days before transplantation.
Take Imuran with food to decrease stomach upset.
Cautions when using Imuran
Blood tests may be performed to ensure that you do not have conditions preventing you from using this prescription drug safely. Be sure to tell your doctor about your allergies and medical conditions in the past and present.
Do not take Imuran if you are allergic to it and any of its active and inactive components.
If you are pregnant, do not use Imuran to treat your rheumatoid arthritis because this medicine can cause fetal harm (harm to an unborn baby). You may use effective and reliable birth control methods to prevent becoming pregnant while taking this medication. If you get pregnant, discuss with your doctor immediately the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
Imuran passes into breast milk and may cause harm to a nursing infant. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting breastfeeding.
Before taking Imuran, inform your doctor if you have had liver disease, kidney disease, bone marrow problems, viral or fungal infection, cancer, and chemotherapy. This medication may cause a rare type of lymphoma (cancer) of the spleen, liver, and bone marrow that can be deadly. Teenagers and young men with Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease were mainly affected.
Imuran can also cause skin cancer. To lessen your risk of having skin cancer:
- Minimize sunlight and ultraviolet light exposure.
- Avoid tanning beds/booths and sunlamps.
- Use sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) or wear protective clothing when you are outdoors.
Taking Imuran can make you easily acquire infections or may worsen any present infections. Avoid being with people with infections that can spread to others, such as flu, chickenpox, or measles. The safety and efficacy of using Imuran in pediatric patients have not been established.
Side Effects of Imuran
Most medications, including Imuran, may cause unwanted side effects. Some may go away after some time or the body has already adjusted to the drug, while some may need to be reported or need immediate medical attention.
Here are the common side effects of using Imuran:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach/abdominal pain
- Temporary hair loss
- Skin rash
- Muscle pain
Call your doctor right away or seek medical help immediately if you experience very serious side effects of using this drug such as:
- Liver disease manifested by persistent nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Allergic reaction manifested by rash, itching/hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection such as fever, chills, prolonged dizziness, headache, severe diarrhea, flu symptoms, sore throat, weakness, cough, pain or burning feeling when urinating.
- Lymphoma manifested by
- Rash, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding
- Fever, not feeling well, body aches, swollen glands, night sweats
- Pain in your upper stomach/abdomen that radiates to the shoulder
- Feeling full after consuming a small amount and weight loss.
- Brain infection that leads to disability or death, manifested by weakness, clumsiness, loss of balance/coordination, difficulty talking/walking, sudden change in your thinking, seizure, and changes in vision.
Imuran Pricing: How much does Imuran (azathioprine) cost in Canada?
When you check Imuran costs (Canada) online, they vary on the site, dosage, and quantity. See the top of this page for pricing information.
You may also check for the Imuran generic cost from this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I receive any vaccine while on Imuran?
Not every vaccine is okay for you to receive when taking Imuran because you can develop an infection. Vaccines like mumps, measles, polio, typhoid, rotavirus, yellow fever, zoster, and rubella are live vaccines, and you should not receive these.
Remember that Imuran weakens/suppresses the immune system, so the live viruses in these vaccines might harm you.
When will see improvement after taking Imuran?
It may take up to 8 weeks before you can notice improvement in your symptoms.
What happens when you stop taking Imuran?
A sudden stop to your medication can cause relapses, which include diarrhea, stomach pain, cramps, fatigue, bloody stools, mouth sores, and weight loss. Make sure to talk to your doctor before stopping your medication.
Does azathioprine make you tired?
Azithromycin oral tablets do not cause drowsiness, but they can cause other side effects. Ensure you read the medication guide to get an idea of possible side effects when you take this drug.
The information above is provided by third parties to Prescriptionpoint.com for Imuran (Azathioprine). This information is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace a physician's advice. Always consult with your doctor or a qualified health care professional if you need advice on any medical concerns.