Azathioprine lowers your body’s immune system. The immune system helps your body fight infections. The immune system can also fight or “reject” a transplanted organ such as a liver or kidney. This is because the immune system treats the new organ as an invader.

Azathioprine is used to prevent your body from rejecting a transplanted kidney. It is also used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • Azasan, Imuran
  • Severity: Major
    You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking azathioprine:

    More common:
    Black, tarry stools
    bleeding gums
    blood in the urine or stools
    chest pain
    cough or hoarseness
    fever or chills
    lower back or side pain
    painful or difficult urination
    pinpoint red spots on the skin
    shortness of breath
    sore throat
    sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
    swollen glands
    unusual bleeding or bruising
    unusual tiredness or weakness
    Rare:
    Abdominal or stomach pain or tenderness
    clay-colored stools
    dark urine
    decreased appetite
    fast heartbeat
    fever (sudden)
    headaches
    itching
    loss of appetite
    muscle or joint pain
    nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (severe)
    redness or blisters on the skin
    swelling of the feet or lower legs
    unusual feeling of discomfort or illness (sudden)
    yellow eyes or skin
    Incidence not known:
    Abdominal or stomach cramps
    diarrhea
    difficulty with breathing
    difficulty with moving
    fat in the stool
    general feeling of illness
    pale skin
    sores on the skin
    sudden loss of weight
    troubled breathing with movement
    weight loss
    Severity: Minor
    Some of the side effects that can occur with azathioprine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

    More common:
    Nausea or vomiting (mild)
    swollen joints
    Incidence not known:
    Hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • (oral tablet, intravenous powder for injection, compounding powder)