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Azathioprine is an anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Uses:

Azathioprine is a preventive medicine that is administered in patients who underwent a kidney transplant. It is effective against organ rejection. It works in combination with other medicines to make the new kidney work better.

It is a medicine prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis which is a condition where the body’s own immune system attacks the healthy joints.

Azathioprine is an immunosuppressant that works in the mentioned conditions to lower down the ability of the body’s immune system, so that it doesn’t work against the body.

Other conditions such as Crohn’s disease are also treated by Azathioprine.

Dosage:

For Kidney Transplant:

The dosage of Azathioprine changes with the condition for which it is prescribed.

For kidney transplant, the medicine is administered usually on the day of transplant.
In some cases the medicine is prescribed almost three days prior to surgery.

The dosage ranges between 3-5 mg/kg of the body weight when the medicine starts.
The dose is gradually decreased to 1-3 mg/kg.

For Rheumatoid Arthritis:

The daily dose starts at 1mg/kg daily or twice a day. The dosage increases gradually and can go up to 2.5mg/kg maximum dose.
For rheumatoid arthritis, the dosage starts showing effect somewhere around the sixth week. If the patient doesn’t show recovery till twelfth week, the medicine is discontinued to opt another medicine.

Side Effects:

The medicine usually doesn’t show extreme side effects. However, if you find irritable stomach, pain in the stomach, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of hair, blood in the urine of stool, bruises under the skin, extreme fatigue without a reason, mouth sores or infections that don’t go away talk to your doctor about these changes in the body.
Another side effect to this medicine is development of tumors, but this only occurs when the medicine is used for prolonged periods such as ten years or more.

Precautions:

While on Azathioprine, your doctor usually orders blood and urine work up to know the effectiveness of the medicine.

Do not take the medicine if you’re pregnant, and avoid getting pregnant if you’re taking the medicine because the medicine can harm the fetus.

Always talk to your doctor about all the medicines you’re using if the doctor asks you to go on Azathioprine therapy. Some medicines can create fatal effects if used in combination with Azathioprine.

Avoid direct sunlight when you’re taking Azathioprine.
After completing the course of this medicine, do not go for an immunization vaccine because it can be ineffective due to the medicine’s immunosuppressive nature.
If a vaccine is necessary, have a discussion with your doctor.
Avoid going to people with infectious diseases because the lowered immunity can cause you to catch the infection.

The medicine lowers the white blood cells and the platelets in the body that can lead to easy bruising, so when on the medicine avoid any type of injury to prevent blood loss.