azathioprine - oral, 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 preserve joint function.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 certain types of bowel conditions (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) that is not responsive to usual treatment, and to treat other immune system problems (autoimmune diseases) as determined by your doctor.
HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth, usually once or twice daily as directed by your doctor. Azathioprine should be taken with food to reduce stomach upset. Dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to therapy. For the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the manufacturer recommends that you do not take more than 2.5 milligrams per kilogram per day.Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often without your doctor's approval. Your condition will not improve any faster and the risk of serious side effects may be increased. Also do not stop taking this medication without your doctor's approval.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. Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve after 3 months of treatment.Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle or break the tablets of this medication.
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