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What is Imuran?

Imuran is an oral tablet made up of an immunosuppressant drug called azathioprine. We carry the brand choice and generic alternative of this medication in 25mg and 50mg!

What is Imuran used for? How does it work?

Imuran is used mostly commonly for two different conditions associated with the immune system. Imuran is used in the prevention of the body rejecting a kidney following a kidney transplant and for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

After a kidney transplant, your immune system may sense your new kidney as a foreign tissue and because of that, may try to reject it and make antibodies try to kill the new organ. Imuran (azathioprine) is effective at preventing the rejection of a new kidney due to its ability to temporarily weaken the immune system until your body realizes the organ is beneficial and is no longer recognized as a foreign tissue.

Rheumatoid arthritis is when your immune system “malfunctions” and begins to attack healthy tissue of the body. This causes inflammation within the lining of your joints, resulting in red, warm, swollen and very painful joints. Imuran (azathioprine) is effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis due to its ability to temporarily weaken the immune system to prevent further damage to your joints.

Always follow directions given to you by your doctor. Instructions can usually also be found on the prescription or prescription bottle/container.

Take this medication with or following a meal, by mouth, once or twice a day.

Take this medication often to get the most benefit out of it. Ensure you do not miss a dose by taking the medication at the same time every day and setting reminders either on a calendar or by using a pillbox.

Do not stop taking this medication or give yourself a dose adjustment without first consulting your doctor.


Before taking Imuran

Tell all your health care providers what medications you are currently taking and what drug allergies you may have. More importantly, be sure to mention if you take cyclosporine or febuxostat, or if you have ever been treated with chlorambucil, cyclophosphamide, or melphalan in the past. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to azathioprine.

Tell your doctor about all medical conditions you may have and any major past conditions. More importantly, tell your doctor if you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, especially if you are a teenager or young man. Also be sure to mention if you have ever had kidney disease or a kidney transplant (if using for arthritis), any type of viral, bacterial, or fungal infection, liver disease, or chemotherapy with medications like cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, melphalan, busulfan, and others.

It is recommended you do not start treatment if you are pregnant; only use this medication if the benefit outweighs the risk.

During treatment

Treatment with Imuran may cause a rare kind of lymphoma (cancer) of the liver, spleen, and bone marrow that can be fatal.

Do not breast feed during treatment. This drug may pass into breast milk.

This medication may increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Acoid spending an extended period of time in the sun while using Imuran. Use sun protective clothing and accessories (like hats) and wear sunscreen; reapply often. Avoid the use of tanning beds.

Increased risk of worsening or new infections is presented when taking Imuran. Avoid contact with people who have infections that are contagious and ensure you are washing your hands throughout the day after using the bathroom, after touching commonly handled objects (like railings and doorknobs), after coughing or sneezing and before and after eating to help ensure you do not get an infection of any kind.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Imuran (azathioprine) may include:

nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain; hair loss; or skin rash.

The above side effects should not alarm you.

Serious side effects of Imuran (azathioprine) may include:

severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; easy bruising, unusual bleeding; rapid heartbeats, shortness of breath; pale skin, cold hands and feet; or dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

If you have any of the above side effects, contact your doctor right away.

Contact your doctor if you notice signs of…

infection - fever, chills, weakness, flu symptoms, sore throat, cough, pain or burning when you urinate

lymphoma (cancer) - fever, swollen glands, body aches, night sweats, not feeling well, pale skin, rash, easy bruising or bleeding, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath, pain in your upper stomach that may spread to your shoulder, or feeling full after eating only a small amount, weight loss

a brain infection – problems with speech, thought, vision, or muscle movement. These symptoms will likely start gradually and get worse quickly.


How often is this medication taken? What is the average dose?

For the prevention of rejection of the new kidney; Imuran is started the day of surgery, usually right before.  The average dose (for an adult) is 3-5mg per kg before surgery. Following surgery; 1-3mg per kg once a day.

For rheumatoid arthritis; Imuran is taken daily. The average dose (for an adult) is 1 mg per kg (50 to 100 mg) per day, given in 1 dose or 2 divided doses.

How should I properly store this medication?

Store Imuran at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light. Ensure the lid is tightly closed when you are not using the medication.

Is this product safe for children? The elderly?

This product is safe for both children (12 and up) and elderly. However children may need to be closely monitored and elderly patients may need a dose adjustment.

How long does relief for rheumatoid arthritis take to achieve?

It may take you up to 2 months before your symptoms begin improving. Consult your doctor if there are no signs of improvement after 3 months.

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