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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 9/2/2008 8:23 PM (GMT -6)   
My doctor wants to put me on Azathioprine but told me to read up on the side effects before I begin taking it. I was just wondering if anyone here has ever had a bad reaction to it/side effect, and if so what was it?

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 149
   Posted 9/2/2008 8:39 PM (GMT -6)   
I felt nuasa the first time, but that it was it. Still on it doing fine, have to watch your CBC though.
Diagnosed with UC (lower proctitis) in 2004
Current daily treatment:
1000mg sup asacol
2400mg oral asacol
40mg prednisone
75mg azathioprine
20mg Nexum
Still 4-5 bloody, mucus bowel movents a day! Blah...

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 9/2/2008 8:51 PM (GMT -6)   

I never had any side effects, but here's a good reference:

Judy - Southern US 
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from Entocort.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2004
Total Posts : 187
   Posted 9/3/2008 10:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been on it a year and a half. Other than mild nausea at the beginning I haven't had any direct side effects from the drug. However, I have had a major increase in infections of other types, especially nasty throat infections and the surfacing of herpes (which I apparently had for years but was suppressed).

Other things I learned at the begining:
* It took a little while getting used to going in for regular blood work, but that's not big deal really
* I really had to remind myself that I wasn't going to see results right away, because its hard taking a scary drug and not getting a magic fix

For me, Aza has been great (although I'm in a flare right now and trying to figure out why, see my other post). It took about 4 months to start to see an effect and within 6 months I was in remission with only a few blips along the way.

33 yr old, female.
Diagnosed with UC in 1996, symptoms since 1990
Currently in a UC flare since July 2008 *grrrr*
On Imuran 2mg/day, Primal Defence 2 tables/day, now added cortifoam for flare

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 9/3/2008 10:11 AM (GMT -6)   
Like BadGutGirl, one of the hardest parts for me so far has been the fact that I have been on it for 8 weeks and am only now seeing (minor) improvements to a 7 month long flare. And I am at some pretty high doses for my weight.

I get nauseous often, and have phenegren prescribed for that. If the day goes well, I normally only get nauseous in the evening and then take half a Phen and hit the sack early. Other than that, I would say expect to get a few sore throats and colds.
Sean - 31

UC Since April 2006, diagnosed 2007 (Flex-Sig)
4 x Liada (2 am 2 pm)
175mg Azathioprine
2 x Imodium
Remicade consult scheduled

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 9/3/2008 3:14 PM (GMT -6)   
For those of you who feel nauseous when taking it, does spacing out the dose over a period of 24-hrs help any, or is this something that happens no matter how you take it?

Mamas Boys
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 1460
   Posted 9/4/2008 7:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Try taking it at night.  Then you will sleep through most of the side effects.  I still wake up slightly nauseated, but am fine as soon as I have eaten something.  The only other major side effect I have is complete exhaustion.  By 8 -9 at night I am ready for bed.


Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 157
   Posted 9/4/2008 8:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Serious side-effects of azathioprine to bear in mind include an increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections, and a heightened risk of developing certain cancers.

Is your doctor incapable of explaining side-effects, or simply lazy?

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 9/4/2008 9:36 PM (GMT -6)   
My doctor explained the side effects and all. I was just wondering about how many people actually do have them. I know they do clinical trials and have to disclose all the side effects experienced in order to cover all their bases. It just seems like a really scary list of side effects and I was just wondering how many people actually do experience some of them.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 233
   Posted 9/9/2008 4:15 PM (GMT -6)   
My doc made me aware of side effects as well, though he really made it seem unlikely I would experience anything negative.
At any rate, I am on this drug going on 4 years..and no side effects ever.  I take my meds in the evening and my colitis has remained in remission.  I have never had a remission this long (well not since 18 years ago) and I am pretty convinced this did the trick for me.  My stress levels have sure not diminished! turn
Hope all goes well for you.
Currently in remission since September 2004!!!  I am on Imuran 150 mg and am LOVING life!

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 9/9/2008 4:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Looks like everyone is different (dynamics win again!!).

I always take them in the morning, and rarely see any nausea until evening time. I have however gotten a few colds and sore throats, but nothing major (I think I might have got a 24 hour bug last week that hit me hard, and left me in my current spike and back on prednisone).

It hasn't put me into remission, but I think it has helped overall. I will be hitting the remicade soon in hopes that that is the finally push back over the proverbial edge for this disease.

MicheleV - can you express what your remission is like? Is it back to pre-diagnosis normalcy or is it just low-level symptomatic, manageable? And good news to hear that you feel great.
Sean - 31

UC Since April 2006, diagnosed 2007 (Flex-Sig)
4 x Liada (2 am 2 pm)
175mg Azathioprine
2 x Imodium
Remicade consult scheduled
1 x 1000mg Fish Oil Cap
Starting some probiotics and SCD-like foods to see if I can make a change.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 9/9/2008 5:16 PM (GMT -6)   

My huisband was prescribed 6MP, while it isn't Azathioprine, it is also an immune suppresent with with side affects and the risks of cancer.

I think each person has to assess their personal situation. Like every other treatment, it seems to affect each one differently.

We opted out because he already has a history of cancer. We thoguht it would increase the chances of it coming back, and we aren't up to that, on top of this right now. Actually, who am I foolin', we aren't up to that ever again shakehead   We decided to try changing his diet. I see that SCD has a high success rate for remission.


We just recently have started the switch to SCD, while my husband is headed into remission. LBM only now, after 4 months. We also started slow, because we wanted to make sure that this was something we could adjust to and not spend a whole lot to just try it and fail. I have found so many recipes and resources! I was very excited. I thought it would be hard to change our diet, but I have found a new version of our normal recipes throughout the links I have been given or have come across on my own.

husband's: secretary, cook, researcher, housekeeper, wife, nurse, comforter, etc. and loving every minute of it!
Husband Diagnosed CD 7/06:
currently taking:Tramadl, PRN, every 6 hours -takes off the edge; Dicyclomine 10mg PRN, 4 hrs; Asacol 1200mg 3X, too high, 800mg 3x;Prednisone 40mg taper; Intestinew, herbal-positive results; Calcium; Centrum multi-vitamin; Potassium RX

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 9/9/2008 10:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been on it now for 2 1/2 months. It's the best thing that has happened to me. Before that I was in a constant flare for 3 years. I couldn't go 4 weeks without another flare-up. Now I have one bm a day. I smile when I get off the toilet. Keeping up with blood test isn't a big deal for me. The only side effect I feel now is I'm tired and I do have some heartburn. Hopefully as my body adjusts from getting off the entocort and being on the azathioprine all this will pass.
Meds:  Asacol 2 tablets 3x a day
Entocort 3 capsules for a week when flaring
Canasa when flaring
Xanax for anxiety
Imuran-started 7/1/08

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 9/11/2008 4:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I tried it and within 4 days it shot my temperature up to 104 and had to stop. That's the only side effect I can tell you about

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 297
   Posted 9/11/2008 8:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been taking it for over 5 years now. No problems except for it doesn't keep me in remission. Sometimes I want to just stop taking it.

Age: 30
Sex: Yes please!
Location: Missouri
Diagnosed with UC in 1997.
Medications: 100 mg Azathioprine a day, Mesa rectal meds
Supplements: calcium, and multivitamin
No. of colonoscopies: 5
Last scope: 6/7/08-everything looked ok.

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