Anxious about starting imuran

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/18/2010 12:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi folks,
So  yesterday I had my first appointment with my new Gastroenterologist...He has recommended I begin imuran as a maintenance med (50mg). 
I have had two surgeries since this past October (1st was a emergency resection due to frequent obstructions.....the 2nd was in January to repair/remove a kink in my bowel that did not resolve itself after 4 days).  After the surgery in Jan. the surgeon told me that the kink was not a result of new/active disease and the bowel looked healthy with no sign of crohns.  Since recovering from the surgery I have felt amazing with absolutely no symptoms or concerns health wise..... 
After both surgeries the surgeon advised that no meds were required however after doing a bit of research and feedback from a posting on here I decided to keep taking my previously prescribed pentasta until my gastro appointment (which as I said FINALLY happened yesterday).
I have read both the successes and concerns with imuran and if there is any chance at all that something can help with giving me as long of a remission as possible....I want it!  However,  I cannot help but have some anxiety regarding the possible side effects of the imuran.  The reason for my post is to ask whether others who have taken imuran have any tips as to how I can manage potential side effects, things I should watch out for/be aware of (I will have blood work weekly for the first month and monthly thereafter....and, my GI will see me again in 6 months)., etc....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 794
   Posted 5/18/2010 1:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,
There are those that have much more experience here on this site and may advise differently but my opinion is that if the pentasa has worked for you (no symptoms/concerns) then I would stick with that and NOT go onto the immuran.
My son is on both, he was pulled off the pentasa approx 3 weeks ago and within a week or so discomfort returned and he is now back on it(despite being on 100mg azathioprine(immuran))
The blood tests will keep an eye on your kidneys and bone marrow function. I guess the main issue would be to avoid anyone with illnesses such as measles, chicken pox etc as obviously the drug will suppress your immune system making you more susceptible to illness.
Side affects can include feeling/being sick, diarrhoea, fever, skin rash, tireness, unexpected bruising/bleeding, chest infection, jaundice, hair loss.
The only problem ds has had really is slight hair loss(don't think he himself has noticed it-I only know cause the hair trap in shower needs to be cleaned out more frequently)

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/18/2010 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I understand your concerns. I have been on Imuran for a year now. I have blood work done every other month and so far so good. It has given me great relief after a year long flare. I was near death but after a series of Prednisone, then Imuran & Asacol I have been mostly in remission for a year. I have occassional flares but they are minor and controlled easily with Imodium. It is always scarey to try something new but with CD you just have to keep trying until you and your GI find what works. Hang in there....there is always hope.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 5/18/2010 2:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been on 6MP, sister med to Imuran, for over 12 years. During that time I have also been on Pentasa, Prednisone, Xifaxan and a few others, but the 6MP has been the constant while the others have come and gone. Before 6MP I was dealing with the damage of having been undiagnosed for 10 years and it took 3 resections and a full 10 years to undue that damage. But the 6MP and the other drugs helped to give me my life back.

I have not gotten any sicker while taking 6MP, like catching more colds or flus. It does take me a bit longer to get over things if I do get them, but that could just be because I have a chronic illness. My liver levels are slightly elevated, but my GI isn't concerned about it because they are just above normal not way out of range. Most of the side effects you read about are from taking these drugs at a much higher dose than we do. So the odds are in our favor, which isn't to say it couldn't happen, but ....

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 190
   Posted 5/18/2010 8:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I was up to 150mg on Imuran and found it did nothing for me. Not any better than Pentasa and sometimes I just felt not well. The blood tests showed I was border line acceptable on 100mg and then was told to increase to 150mg. Not too long after I stopped because I saw no reason to continue taking it. I am a low metabolizer so I would think 50mg would be OK to start with. Just keep in mind it can take several months to start noticing a difference.
Feeling the best I have in several years! And it keeps getting better!

4mg LDN at bedtime, 500mg Pentasa 4x/day, 500mg Vitamin C, 1,000 I/U Vitamin D3, 1 Florastor 2x/day, 1 Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri at bed time.
Medication prior to taking LDN: 100 mg Imuran a day (GI wanted 150 mg), 1,000 mg of Pentasa 4x/day, 3 mg of Entocort 3x/day, Librax as needed.

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