Anyone has taken Azathioprine (Imuran)?

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/15/2011 7:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi people!
I was diagnosed with lupus a couple months ago. My symptoms are Reynauds (since I can remember), fatigue (going on for years). At the beginning of this year my platelets level went extremely low, I was full of bruises, so the doctors tested me and turned out to be lupus.
I am still accepting it. I have been on prednisone since January (I haven't been able to get a full night sleep in a long time) and they have been lowering my dose but last week my platelets went down again cry and I had this rash all over my hands, feet and face (butterfly rash) so my doctor thinks I am flaring again (eventhough the rash is almost gone by itself) and asked me to augment the dose of prednisone again and take azathioprine but all the side effects got me really scared !
I am overwhelmed with all the new information!!
Has anyone taken it? Thank you!

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/15/2011 7:42 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm new to Lupus also...I've already been on the Imuran and it only worked for me for a few months. But while on it I didn't have any side effects.
I'm now on Cellcept 1400mg and Predisone 30mg daily...the restlessness is annoying but melatonin works on helping me sleep.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7671
   Posted 4/15/2011 8:41 AM (GMT -6)   
It's best to take the Prednisone as early in the morning as possible to avoid sleep issues. Since sleep deprivation can be a source of a lupus flare all by itself, it's common to take a sleep-aid of some kind to ensure you get "deep restorative sleep". Whether you try something over-the-counter or ask your DR for help, it's important to let all your Drs know everything you take.

Many lupus patients try Imuran -- very few have much beyond the upset stomach side-effects. For some people it doesn't work, so the next meds tried are usually Cellcept then MTX. It's worth a try to get the flare knocked out...they tend to get worse if not treated.

Hope you feel better soon,
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1335
   Posted 4/15/2011 12:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Imuran is tolerated by most who take it and has been used for decades so docs know this drug very well. A few react to it right away and have to stop taking it.  The worst side effects can occur after taking it for a long time although not everyone has them.  Azathioprine is a cytotoxin and can affect your wbc, rbc, and platelet counts so you must have blood work every few months or more often in the beginning.  After 18 months it lowered wbc, rbc, platelets and I had to reduce the dosage.  Took it for another 3 years and had no problems.
Imuran is a cake walk compared to prednisone and most people do well on it.  One negative is that it takes months before it is fully effective but that is true of other drugs like methotrexate as well.  If you read the side effects of aspirin you would never take it even though it has been one, if not the best, most useful drugs ever.  All of the suppression meds have lots of side effects but many people tolerate them well.  I have been on pred for almost 6 years (almost off now) and the only bad side effect was hypertension which did not occur until after almost a year.  The goal of most treatments is to find some prednisone sparing drug like imuran that has less side effects and is tolerated better for long term treatment.
MCTD (lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis).  Diagnosed 2005.  Kidney, liver, GI tract, dysphagia, raynauds, Barretts esophagus, quadriplegic in 2005.  Recovered and now active in skiing, tai, chi, hiking, golf.  Meds: prednisone 2.5mg, imuran 25mg, amlodipine, benazapril, omeprazole, potassium, folic acid, vitamins, maxide and various supplements and vitamins.
Remain optimistic and you can overcome the odds.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 607
   Posted 4/17/2011 7:42 AM (GMT -6)   
I am one of those few who cannot tolerate Imuran at all.   I think it only took me a few day to lower my wbc to nearly zero, and accompanied with high fever, low platelets, excruciating mouth ulcer (like those who had chemo).  Oh, and one more, I lost all my hair.  I was in hospital for three weeks.  Cellcept works on me like a miracle though. Azahioprine is a BIG NO for me.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1335
   Posted 4/17/2011 9:35 AM (GMT -6)   
You were lucky to find out early that imuran was not for you.  I tolerated it well for 18 months and then it hit my blood.  At lower doses I was OK and after 5 years am totally off the drug.
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