Imuran tablets contain a medicine called azathioprine. This medicine reduces the activity of your body’s immune system. Imuran is used to:

  • stop your body rejecting an organ transplant
  • treat diseases where your immune system reacts

Why have I been prescribed Imuran?

Imuran tablets contain a medicine called azathioprine. This belongs to a group of medicines called immunosuppressants. These medicines reduce the activity of your body’s immune system.
Imuran is used to:

  • stop your body rejecting an organ transplant
  • treat diseases where your immune system reacts against your own body (called autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis).

How does it work?

  • Nucleic acid is a substance produced in the body which is vital for all cells to be formed. Imuran prevents the production of this so that cells involved in the immune response which the medicine is trying to reduce, cannot be made.

When and how do I take it?

Always take Imuran exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usually taken by mouth once a day.

What’s the dose?

The dose of Imuran you take depends on your illness and how bad it is. The dose also depends on your age, your weight and how well your liver and kidneys are working. Your doctor will explain this to you.

To stop your body rejecting an organ transplant:

On the first day:

  • the usual dose is up to 5 mg per kg of body weight.

For the rest of your treatment:

  • you will take between 1 and 4 mg per kg of body weight each day.

For other conditions:

At the start of your treatment:

  • you will take 1 to 3 mg per kg of body weight each day
  • your doctor may reduce your dose later.

Could it interact with other tablets?

Tell your prescriber the names of all the medicines that you are taking so that they can consider all possible interactions. This includes all the medicines which have been prescribed by your GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, health visitor, midwife or pharmacist. You must also tell your prescriber about medicines which you have bought over the counter without prescriptions.

The following medicines may interact with Imuran:

  • allopurinol
  • captopril
  • cimetidine
  • co-trimoxazole
  • furosemide
  • indometacin
  • mesalazine
  • olsalazine
  • oxipurinol
  • penicillamine
  • succinylcholine
  • sulfasalazine
  • thiopurinol
  • tubocurarine
  • warfarin

The following types of medicine may interact with Imuran:

  • aminosalicylate derivatives
  • cytostatics
  • immunosuppressant medicines
  • myelosuppressives
  • neuromuscular blockers
  • thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) inhibitors
  • vaccines

If you are taking Imuran and one of the above medicines or types of medicines, make sure your prescriber knows about it.

Herbal products should also only be taken after talking with your doctor.

What are the possible risks or side-effects?

Like all medicines, Imuran can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. The following side effects may happen with this medicine:

Stop taking Imuran and see a doctor straight away, if you notice any of the following serious side effects, you may need urgent medical treatment:

Allergic reaction, the signs may include:

  • general tiredness, dizziness, feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
  • high temperature (fever), shivering or chills
  • redness of the skin or a skin rash
  • pain in the muscles or joints
  • changes in the amount and colour of the urine (kidney problems)
  • dizziness, confusion, feeling light headed or weak, caused by low blood pressure

Other serious side effects:

  • you bruise more easily or notice any unusual bleeding
  • you have a high temperature (fever) or other signs of an infection
  • you feel extremely tired
  • you notice lumps anywhere on your body
  • you notice any changes to your skin, for example blisters or peeling
  • your health suddenly gets worse
  • you come into contact with anyone who is suffering from chickenpox or shingles.

If you notice any of the above, stop taking Imuran and see a doctor straight away.

Other side effects include:

Very common (affects more than 1 in 10 people):

  • infections caused by a virus, fungus or bacteria
  • reduction in your bone marrow function, which may make you feel unwell or show up in your blood tests
  • low white blood cell level in your blood tests, which may cause an infection.

Common (affects less than 1 in 10 people):

  • low blood platelet level, which may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Uncommon (affects less than 1 in 100 people):

  • low red blood cell level, which may cause you to be tired, get headaches, be short of breath when exercising, feel dizzy and look pale
  • inflammation of the pancreas, which may cause you severe upper stomach pain, with feeling sick (nausea) and being sick (vomiting)
  • liver problems, which may cause pale stools, dark urine, itchiness and yellowing of your skin and eyes.

Can I drink alcohol while taking it?

  • There are no known interactions between alcohol and Imuran.
  • Always ask you doctor or pharmacist however as other medications you are taking may have a bearing on this.

What if I’m pregnant/breastfeeding?

Imuran should not be taken by patients who are pregnant, likely to become pregnant in the near future or breast feeding without careful assessment of risk versus benefit.

If you have any more questions please ask your Pharmacist.

Remember to keep all medicines out of reach of children
Please Note: We have made every effort to ensure that the content of this information sheet is correct at time of publish, but remember that information about drugs may change. This sheet does not list all the uses and side-effects associated with this drug. For full details please see the drug information leaflet which comes with your medicine. Your doctor will assess your medical circumstances and draw your attention to any information or side-effects which may be relevant in your particular case.



Health Reference: Rheumatoid Arthritis