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Azathioprine (Imuran®) is an immunosuppressant that may be used with other immunosuppressant drugs to prevent organ rejection after a liver transplant.
Azathioprine is often prescribed so that doses of other immunosuppressant medications may be decreased and side effects may be less severe. Azathioprine also can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.
This medication prevents rejection by suppressing the body's immune system.
Azathioprine is taken by mouth or is given by injection. The oral medication is available in 50-mg tablets.
Your child should take his or her azathioprine dose at the same time each night. (Taking the medication at night allows your coordinator to reach you during the day if your child's dosage needs to be changed before the next dose.)
If your child misses a dose of azathioprine and more than 12 hours have passed since your last dose, contact your coordinator for advice.
Your child may feel tired or weak while taking this medication, and have less of an appetite than usual. Sometimes, people taking azathioprine experience stomach discomfort that can range from mild upset to nausea or vomiting. These are all common side effects of the medication, not cause for alarm. Taking this medication with food or milk will prevent or lessen stomach upset.
In rare cases, the following azathioprine side effects may occur in children:
Other effects include:
Allopurinol (Zyloprim®), a medication used to treat gout, can produce toxic effects when taken with azathioprine. Notify your doctor or pharmacist if your child is taking Allopurinol; the dose of azathioprine must be reduced. Check with your coordinator before your child takes any new medication, and notify your coordinator of any medication changes.
Be sure to tell the doctor or pharmacist about any other prescription or over-the-counter medication your child is taking, so you can be warned of interactions and prevent them.
Store at room temperature.
Your child should take azathioprine exactly as prescribed. The medication should never be stopped, unless advised by a transplant surgeon or your transplant coordinator.
Pharmacies usually keep limited supply of azathioprine in stock. It is wise to call your pharmacist at least five days in advance of filling a prescription.
Drug information changes periodically. For the most updated information on drugs, visit www.drugs.com.
Learn more about other Liver Transplant Drugs.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.