Medically reviewed on July 4, 2018
- Long-term use may raise your chance of cancer.
- Lymphoma and other cancers have happened in people who take this medicine (azathioprine tablets) or drugs like it. This has been deadly in some cases. Talk with the doctor.
- A rare type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma (HSTCL) has happened with this medicine (azathioprine tablets). These cases have been deadly. Most of the time, these cases happened in teenagers or young adults. Most of these patients were using this medicine (azathioprine tablets) to treat certain types of bowel problems like Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. This medicine is not approved for use to treat bowel problems like these. Tell the doctor if you have ever had any type of cancer. Talk with the doctor.
Uses of Azathioprine Tablets:
- It is used to keep the body from turning down the kidney after a kidney transplant.
- It is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Azathioprine Tablets?
For all uses of this medicine (azathioprine tablets):
- If you have an allergy to azathioprine or any other part of this medicine (azathioprine tablets).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have ever been treated with chlorambucil, cyclosporine, or melphalan in the past.
- If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients:
- If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not take this medicine (azathioprine tablets) if you are pregnant.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine (azathioprine tablets).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this medicine (azathioprine tablets) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Azathioprine Tablets?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine (azathioprine tablets). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- You may have more of a chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu. Some infections have been very bad and even deadly.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- If you have a thiopurine methyltransferase deficiency, talk with your doctor.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- The chance of skin cancer may be raised. Avoid lots of sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
- You may need to have your skin checked while you take this medicine (azathioprine tablets). Talk with your doctor.
- Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with this medicine (azathioprine tablets) may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- If you are taking warfarin, talk with your doctor. You may need to have your blood work checked more closely while you are taking it with this medicine (azathioprine tablets).
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine (azathioprine tablets).
- If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this medicine (azathioprine tablets), call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Azathioprine Tablets) best taken?
Use this medicine (azathioprine tablets) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take after meals unless your doctor says otherwise.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- Keep taking this medicine (azathioprine tablets) as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Very upset stomach or throwing up.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Muscle pain or weakness.
- Night sweats.
- A big weight loss.
- Fever that does not go away.
- Change in color or size of a mole.
- A skin lump or growth.
- A very bad brain problem called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) has happened with this medicine (azathioprine tablets). It may cause disability or can be deadly. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs like confusion, memory problems, low mood (depression), change in the way you act, change in strength on 1 side is greater than the other, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, or change in eyesight.
What are some other side effects of Azathioprine Tablets?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Azathioprine Tablets?
- Store at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Protect from light.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine (azathioprine tablets), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about azathioprine
- Azathioprine Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 74 Reviews
- Drug class: antirheumatics
- Azathioprine Injection
- Azathioprine Intravenous (Advanced Reading)
- Azathioprine Oral, Intravenous (Advanced Reading)