Full instructions, dosage information and potential known side effects are all available in the leaflet that comes with the prescription product. If you require any advice or assistance with placing your order, please donâ€™t hesitate to contact our team.
How do I take/use this medicine?
Take Azathioprine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Azathioprine must be taken regularly for it to work well. Continue taking Azathioprine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Azathioprine unless instructed by your doctor. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
You may take Azathioprine with or without food. However, you may take it with food to minimise any stomach discomfort that it may cause.
What should I take note of while using/taking this medicine?
Alert your doctor if you have liver disease, kidney disease or a rare inherited metabolic condition known as 'Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome'.
Inform your doctor if you have ever been told that your body lacks an enzyme called thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT).
For as long as you are taking Azathioprine, you will need to have regular blood tests to check your blood counts and your body's response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have the blood tests done.
Do not have any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
If you are taking Azathioprine, you may be more prone to infections such as coughs and colds. Avoid crowds and people who are sick, especially if they have chickenpox, shingles or measles. Alert your doctor if you come into contact with people who have chickenpox, shingles or measles.
Azathioprine may increase the risk of developing certain cancers, including skin cancer. It may also cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight. Avoid direct or long hours of exposure to the sun and other forms of ultraviolet (UV) light like tanning beds or sun lamps. Use a sunscreen and protective clothing when you go out into the sun.
If you are a woman, avoid using intra-uterine devices (IUDs) as there may be an increased risk of infection.
When should I not use this medicine?
Alert your doctor if you are pregnant. Do not take Azathioprine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while on Azathioprine, alert your doctor immediately. Azathioprine may cause harm to your unborn child. Both men and women must use proven birth control methods while being treated with Azathioprine. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor.
Alert your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with Azathioprine.
Do not take Azathioprine if you allergic to mercaptopurine, a medicine for treating cancer of the white blood cells.
Are there any restrictions on the type of food I can take?
Why do I need this medicine?
Azathioprine is used on its own or together with other medicines to prevent the rejection of new organs after an organ transplant.
Azathioprine is also used to treat certain autoimmune conditions where your body attacks its own cells or tissues, such as Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) and other autoimmune connective tissue disorders.
Azathioprine belongs to a class of medicines known as immunosuppressants.
What side effects could I experience?
Azathioprine will cause the level of your white blood cells and platelets to drop.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. When the level of your white blood cells drops, it may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick, especially those who have chickenpox, shingles or measles. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. When the level of your platelets drops, you may be at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not participate in activities in which you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Less commonly, the levels of your red blood cells may also drop. Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients around your body. When the level of red blood cells fall, you may often feel tired and weak.
Azathioprine may also cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, tiredness, dizziness, rash or hair loss.
Other side effects are less common but may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms:
- extreme tiredness
- unusual or prolonged bleeding
- unusual bruising or bruising over large areas
- fever with signs of infection
- severe rash or rash over large areas
- yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
- pain in the upper abdomen
Alert your doctor if any side effect is severe or if you develop any other side effects.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
Always return any unused or expired Azathioprine tablets to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.
Can I take/use this with other medicines?
Alert your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, for example:
- blood-thinning medicines such as warfarin
- cancer medicine known as mercaptopurine
- gout medicines such as allopurinol
- high blood pressure medicines such as enalapril, captopril, lisinopril and "water pills" such as frusemide (furosemide)
- medicines for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) such as sulfasalazine, olsalazine or mesalazine
- antibiotics such as cotrimoxazole (also known as trimethoprim+sulphamethoxazole)
- gastric medicines such as cimetidine
- rheumatoid arthritis medicines such as penicillamine, balsalazide
- medicines used in surgery such as succinylcholine or tubocurarine
Always inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.