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This is also known as Imuran®, Mylan-azathioprine, Novo-azathioprine.

What is azathioprine?

Azathioprine works by preventing your body from rejecting your new organ. It is called an immunosuppressant or an anti-rejection medication.

What azathioprine looks like

Azathioprine can come in a tablet or a liquid. Here is a photo of one brand of azathioprine used after a transplant.

Note: This photo is a close-up of the tablet; it is not to scale.

How to take azathioprine

  • Wash your hands before and after handling azathioprine.
  • Take azathioprine once a day, at the same time every day.
  • You can take azathioprine with food or without food, but make sure you take it the same way each time. Take it with food if you find it causes stomach upset (nausea) if you take it on its own.

Taking azathioprine tablets

  • Wear a mask and gloves if you need to cut or crush the tablet(s).
  • Wash your hands right after you take your dose.

Taking azathioprine suspension (liquid)

  • Shake the bottle well before each dose.
  • Measure the dose in the syringe provided.
  • Wash away any liquid residue on your hands right after you take your dose.

Once it is mixed, azathioprine suspension is stable for 60 days in a glass bottle at room temperature. The pharmacist will put an expiry label on the bottle to help you remember when it is no longer safe to take it.

Possible side effects of azathioprine

  • Nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up)
  • Smaller appetite
  • Greater risk of infections – azathioprine lowers your white blood cell count (white blood cells help fight infection)
  • Tiredness or fatigue – azathioprine can lower your red blood cell (hemoglobin) count (hemoglobin provides energy to the body)
  • Heavier or longer bleeding from any cuts – azathioprine can lower your platelet count (platelets help stop bleeding)
  • Mild headache
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Rash.

How to store azathioprine

  • Keep azathioprine out of reach of any small children.
  • Keep azathioprine at room temperature.
  • Store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
  • Never store it in the bathroom or near heat sources in the kitchen.
  • Never store it in the refrigerator or freezer.

Last updated: November 30th 2017