azathioprine - injection, Imuran (cont.)
USES: Azathioprine is used with other medications to prevent rejection of a kidney transplant. It works by weakening your body's defense system (immune system) to help your body accept the new kidney as if it were your own. This medication belongs to a class of drugs known as immunosuppressants.Azathioprine is also used to treat patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded to other medications (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/NSAIDs such as ibuprofen). Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be caused by the immune system attacking the joints. Early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with more aggressive therapy such as azathioprine helps to reduce further joint damage and to keep joints working better.This medication is given by injection until you are able to take azathioprine by mouth.Talk to the doctor about the risks and benefits of azathioprine, especially when used in children and young adults.OTHER This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.This medication may also be used to prevent rejection of other transplanted organs, to treat a certain type of bowel condition (Crohn's disease) that is not responsive to usual treatment, and to treat other immune system problems (autoimmune diseases) as determined by your doctor.
HOW TO USE: This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional, usually once or twice daily as directed by your doctor.Dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time(s) each day.For arthritis, it may take up to 2 months of continued use to notice relief of symptoms. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve after 3 months of treatment.
SIDE EFFECTS: See also Warning section.Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.Stomach/intestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite may occur. These symptoms may be reduced by giving the medication after a meal or in divided doses. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Although unlikely, more severe stomach/intestinal symptoms (e.g., severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, stomach/abdominal pain) may occur as part of a very serious allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical attention if you have severe stomach/intestinal symptoms or other symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, which may include: fever, severe chills, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, cough, new or worsening joint/muscle aches, dark urine.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: muscle weakness, cold/numbness in the fingers, mouth sores, difficult/painful swallowing, greasy stools.Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: yellowing eyes/skin, swelling/extra fluid around the abdomen, vomit that contains blood or looks like coffee grounds, black stools.This medication may increase your risk of getting a rare but very serious (sometimes fatal) brain infection (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy-PML). Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: clumsiness, loss of coordination, weakness, sudden change in your thinking (such as confusion, difficulty concentrating), difficulty moving your muscles, problems with speech, seizure, vision changes.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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