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What is Imuran?

Imuran, also known as azathioprine, is a medication used in patients who have undergone a kidney transplant. Imuran is used to prevent organ rejection and is used in combination with other medications to allow kidney functions. This drug is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where the body’s system attacks healthy joints.

How does Imuran work?

Azathioprine is an immunosuppressant that works by weakening the immune system to help your body accept new organs and prevent further damage to your joints to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Make sure to always read the patient information and instructions before using this medication. Always follow your doctor’s directions.

  • Take this drug by mouth with food to reduce stomach upset.
  • This drug is typically taken once or twice a day.
  • Do not increase your dose or stop taking this drug without consulting your doctor.
  • Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it.
  • Take Imuran at the same time each day.

Cautions

Tell your doctor and pharmacist:

  • About your drug and other allergies.
  • If you take any other prescription or over-the-counter medications.
  • If you have a personal or family medical history of kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, and certain enzyme disorders.

You should also know:

  • This drug may increase your risk of skin cancer, so limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps and wear protective clothing when going outside.
  • Azathioprine may make it more likely to get infections or worsen current infections.
  • When taking azathioprine, do not have to get any immunizations or vaccinations without the consent of your doctor.
  • This drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs, so pregnant women should not handle or breathe dust from the tablets.
  • Azathioprine may harm an unborn baby, so tell your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of taking this medication.
  • This drug passes into breast milk and can have undesirable effects on a nursing infant.

Side effects of Imuran

Common side effects of Imuran include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea or vomiting (taking medication after meals may help this effect)
  • Temporary hair loss

Get medical help if you have any of the following side effects of azathioprine.

  • Diarrhea
  • New or worsening joint or muscle pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Liver disease (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • This drug may also increase your risk of serious brain infection (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy-PML). Symptoms of this brain infection can include clumsiness, loss of coordination, memory loss, and vision changes.

FAQs

How long does it take for Imuran to take effect for rheumatoid arthritis?

It can take up to 2 months before your symptoms improve. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve after 3 months of treatment.

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