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azathioprine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran)?

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to azathioprine.

Some people using azathioprine have developed a rare fast-growing type of lymphoma (cancer). This condition affects the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, and it can be fatal. This has occurred mainly in teenagers and young adults using azathioprine or similar medicines to treat Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

However, people with autoimmune disorders (including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriasis) may have a higher risk of lymphoma. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk.

To make sure you can safely take azathioprine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use azathioprine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Azathioprine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using azathioprine.

This medication can affect fertility (your ability to have children), whether you are a man or a woman. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about this.

How should I take azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take azathioprine with a full glass of water.

Take azathioprine with food to lessen stomach upset.

Azathioprine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using azathioprine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

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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