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Understanding Crohn Disease Medications (cont.)

Immunosuppressants

Patient Comments

This class of drugs includes azathioprine (Imuran), 6-mercaptopurine (Purinethol), and methotrexate (Folex).

  • How immunosuppressants work: This group includes a wide variety of agents that work in many different ways, but they all interfere in the immune processes that promote inflammation.
  • Who should not use these medications: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and individuals who have allergy to immunosuppressants should not take them, nor should anyone with alcoholism or preexisting bone marrow or blood toxicities. Methotrexate can casue fetal abnormalities (teratogenicity) and should not be given to women of child bearing age.
  • Use: These drugs can be administered by oral tablets or capsules or by injection.
  • Drug or food interactions: Use of other immunosuppressants increases the risk of infection and increases toxicity to bone marrow or blood cells. Many drug interactions are possible. Contact a doctor or pharmacist before beginning a new prescription or over-the-counter medication.
  • Side effects: Immunosuppressants are not safe during pregnancy and may cause bone marrow or blood cell toxicity. Patients with impaired kidney or liver function may need lower doses. Methotrexate may cause pulmonary toxicity. As mentioned previously, methotrexate can cause fetal abnormalities (teratogenicity) and should not be given to women of child bearing age.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2013
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Crohn Disease »

Crohn disease is an idiopathic, chronic, transmural inflammatory process of the bowel that often leads to fibrosis and obstructive symptoms, which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the anus.

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