Azathioprine & Cellcept questions, please help.

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Beth75
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2142
   Posted 12/16/2008 9:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello,
 
I do not have lupus but I think some of the drugs I take may be the same and there are just not a ton of resources to get info from.  I was hoping maybe someone here coule help?   I have Ulcerative Colitis and Kidney Disease (called Minimal Change, I spill high levels of proteins).
 
I was curious to know if anyone knows how long Azathioprine (Imuran) stays in your system after you start taking it and also if anyone knows how long it can take Cellcept to start working?
 
I ask b/c two weeks ago I was doing good and then switched from Aza to Cellcept and now am doing worse.  I was hoping that I could finally reach remission on Cellcept, but no am very confused?  I hope that it is just the Cellcept is taking a while to work.
 
Thank you for any help!
Beth, 33 ~ hoping to taper pred successfully, wish me luck!
Major Flare Sept/Oct 07.  Flare May 08 (from aspirin?).
UC dx'd 03/00 Proctosigmoiditis; Pancolitis since 09/07
Can't take anything b/c I am on Cellcept for my kidneys (can possibly help UC) Calcium and Vit D 500mg 3xday, Multi Vit, Folic Acid 400mg 2xday, Prilosec, Probiotics.
Minimal Change Disease (Kidney Disorder) dx'd 09/07. Close to remission since 9/08.
Cellcept 1000mg 2xday, Prednisone 10mg 1xday, Lipitor 20mg 1xday, Diovan 160mg 2xday. Tekturna 300mg 1xday, Fosomax 70mg 1xweek. MCD may be from hypersensitivty to 5ASA drugs (sulfasalazine, asacol).  Do you have edema? If so, check your blood protien level!
 


Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 12/16/2008 10:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Beth,
 
I'm on Azathioprine.  It takes about 6 weeks to kick in when you first start taking it.  To figure out how long a drug stays in the body, you need to know its "half life", which means the amount of time that it takes for the medication to be eliminated by the body.  I've included a link as to how to figure it out.  It requires simple math.  When you find out the half life of a med, divide that number by 4 and you'll get the number of days that the med is active in your body.  For Azathioprine, the half life is 5 hours (approximately).  So when you divide 5 by 4, you get about 1.25 days.  So you can't miss a dose!  It stays in your system for about 1 day.  I hope this is helpful!  Here's the link:  http://bipolar.about.com/od/glossary/g/gl_medhalflife.htm
 
Cellcept's half life is 18 hours.  So 18 divided by 4 is 4.5 days.  It's longer lasting in the body.  I know Lynnwood will have some great information for you. She's our Cellcept expert wink .  I'm not sure how long it takes for Cellcept to "kick in".
 
I've had tremendous success with Azathioprine (Imuran).  You'll need to get monthly blood work done to watch your lymphocytes, and kidney function. 
 
Good luck with tapering off your pred!  That will be a day to celebrate!!
 
Ginny
 
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with Lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, Anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke, 2002), Sjogren's, Raynaud's, Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck), anxiety. Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, Didrocal, Cozaar, Zoloft, Neurontin, calcium, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus


Lynnwood
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7019
   Posted 12/16/2008 7:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and Welcome to the Lupus forum -

Sometimes Imuran works best for some people, sometimes Cellcept works best for some people.....it's very odd that they would switch from a med that is working for you just to try another...maybe there are some side effects you are needing to avoid or something?

For me, I was on Imuran with no effects, neither good or bad, for well over a year. So my rheumy decided to try Cellcept instead. There was no gap or rest period between - one day I used Imuran, the next Cellcept.

Cellcept worked very well for me - the dosage was ramped up over a period of 6-8 weeks. Not only did it help with general inflammation and general lupus issues, but it stopped and even improved my thought & information processing. My only side effect was some hair thinning towards the end of my 18 month usage. We stopped using it 1) because I had improved so much and 2) because it's 'heavy duty' enough so that it isn't really good to use it beyond 18-24 months unless absolutely needed. Been off for about a year now. My last lab tests were totally ANA and inflammation free, so it's almost remission.

Some people have more side effects than I do on either of these meds....

Hope this helps, and that you get to feeling better soon!

Lynnwood, Co-Moderator: Lupus Forum
SLE(’00), Sjogren's Syndrome, Raynaud's Syndrome, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression, Herpes Simplex 1
Plaquenil, Prednisone(8mg), Piroxicam, Xanax(as needed), Trazodone, Boniva(monthly), Wellbutrin SR, Valtrex
Links: DIAGNOSING LUPUS (4 of 11), LUPUS INFORMATION, LUPUS RESOURCES, Donate to HealingWell, Drug Interactions


Beth75
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2142
   Posted 12/22/2008 11:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ginny and Lynwood,

Thanks so much for sharing your information. With the Imuran I did well but not well enough unfortunately, every time I would try to get off the pred I would relapse.

Thanks again, please take care and hope your holidays are great!

Beth
Beth, 33 ~ hoping to taper pred successfully, wish me luck!
Major Flare Sept/Oct 07.  Flare May 08 (from aspirin?).
UC dx'd 03/00 Proctosigmoiditis; Pancolitis since 09/07
Can't take anything b/c I am on Cellcept for my kidneys (can possibly help UC) Calcium and Vit D 500mg 3xday, Multi Vit, Folic Acid 400mg 2xday, Prilosec, Probiotics.
Minimal Change Disease (Kidney Disorder) dx'd 09/07. Close to remission since 9/08.
Cellcept 1000mg 2xday, Prednisone 10mg 1xday, Lipitor 20mg 1xday, Diovan 160mg 2xday. Tekturna 300mg 1xday, Fosomax 70mg 1xweek. MCD may be from hypersensitivty to 5ASA drugs (sulfasalazine, asacol).  Do you have edema? If so, check your blood protien level!
 

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