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Table of Contents > Drug > Azathioprine Print



Related terms
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    Related terms
    • Brand Names: U.S.: Azasan®;Imuran®
    • Brand Names: Canada: Apo-Azathioprine®;Imuran®;Mylan-Azathioprine;Teva-Azathioprine

    • It is used to keep the body from harming the organ after an organ transplant.
    • It is used to treat arthritis.
    • It is used to treat diseases of the immune system.
    • It is used to treat Crohn's disease.
    • It is used to treat ulcerative colitis.
    • It may take weeks to months to see the full effect in some diseases.
    • Azathioprine helps the body accept an organ transplant.
    • It lowers the body's harmful response to diseases of the immune system.


    How to take

    • Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.
    • There is a liquid (suspension) if you cannot swallow pills. Shake well before use.
    • Those who have feeding tubes may also use the liquid. Flush the feeding tube before and after this drug is given.

    Missed Dose

    • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
    • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
    • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.


    • Store tablets at room temperature.
    • Protect tablets from light.
    • Protect tablets from water. Do not store in a bathroom or kitchen.
    • Store liquid (suspension) in a refrigerator. Throw away any part not used after 2 months.



    • Long-term use may raise the chance of cancer and unsafe infections.
    • Sometimes drugs are not safe when you take them with certain other drugs. Taking them together can cause bad side effects. This is one of those drugs. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all the drugs you take.


    • If you have an allergy to azathioprine or any other part of this drug.
    • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs. Make sure to tell about the allergy and what signs you had. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
    • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
    • If you are breast-feeding.


    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Long-term use may raise your chance of cancer.
    • If you have kidney disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have liver disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have a thiopurine methyltransferase deficiency, talk with your doctor.
    • Have your blood work checked often. Talk with your doctor.
    • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with this drug may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
    • Check all drugs you are taking with your doctor. This drug may not mix well with some other drugs.
    • Talk with your doctor before using products that have aspirin, blood thinners, garlic, ginseng, ginkgo, ibuprofen or like products, pain drugs, or vitamin E.
    • Use birth control that you can trust to stop pregnancy while taking this drug.

    Side Effects

    • Chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
    • Low white blood cell count or low platelet count.
    • Chills.
    • Upset stomach or throwing up. Many small meals, good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.

    Contact a healthcare provider

    • If you think there was an overdose, call your local poison control center or ER right away.
    • Signs of a very bad reaction to the drug. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue or gray skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
    • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.5°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
    • Chest pain or pressure.
    • Very bad belly pain.
    • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
    • Not able to eat.
    • Feeling very tired or weak.
    • Very bad back pain.
    • Any bruising or bleeding.
    • Dark urine or yellow skin or eyes.
    • Night sweats.
    • A big weight loss.
    • Fever that does not go away.
    • Any rash.
    • Side effect or health problem is not better or you are feeling worse.

    General Statements

    • If you have a very bad allergy, wear an allergy ID at all times.
    • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
    • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
    • Most drugs may be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.
    • In Canada, take any unused drugs to the pharmacy. Also, visit to learn about the right way to get rid of unused drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Call your doctor for help with any side effects. If in the U.S., you may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or if in Canada, you may also call Health Canada's Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.
    • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including OTC, natural products, or vitamins.

    Author information
    • Copyright © 1978-2013 Lexi-Comp Inc. All rights reserved.

    Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

    The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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