Azathioprine side effects

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builttoride
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Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 11/10/2008 9:40 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been on azathioprine for about a month now (2 weeks at 50mg, 1 at 100mg and last week went up to 150mg which is the right dosage for me). I was warned that at first I may have side effects such as nausea and joint pain, but was happy to report that all that I got were bad headaches (hypersensitive ones).


However, the last few days I ave had back pain (I'm only 25 and have never had back pain like this before) and have had nasty stomach cramps all the time as well as feeling very sick at night (I take the pills before bed). Is it reasonable do you think, that these are side effects from the drugs? is it normal for them to take a month to happen? does anyone else have any similar experiences?

thanks!

Red_34
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 11/10/2008 9:54 AM (GMT -6)   
If I was you, I would place a call into your doc. Backaches and abdominal pain while taking an immune suppressor can be an indication of pancreatitis which is a common complaint when using these meds.


 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis(?)~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-worked great!, Osteoarthritis
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builttoride
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Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 11/10/2008 10:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the warning. I'm going to see my specialist tomorrow monring anyway, so will discuss with him.

UC Fighter
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 11/10/2008 4:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Lovely, I go on Imuran (azathioprine) today. :(
 Current Rx:
 6 400mg Asacol 6x / day
 40mg Prednisone / day
 Mesalamine Enemas (nightly)
 


Red_34
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 11/10/2008 4:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Uc fighter, pancreatitis is a complication but it doesn't mean it will happen to you. I've been on 6mp for 2-3 years(?? I honestly can't remember how long!) but I have never had that complication. So I will keep my fingers crossed for you and I hope it works well for you.
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis(?)~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-worked great!, Osteoarthritis
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


ediekristen
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 11/10/2008 6:57 PM (GMT -6)   
builttoride,

How would you describe your back pain?
I've been on Azathioprine for probably two months now I guess and I've been having similar symptoms. I was on it once before for quite some time and never had any problems, but then I was off for maybe a year and then now that i'm back on it seems to maybe be affecting me more..

The pain I feel starts in my lower back and radiates outward, but it doesn't feel like a joint pain. It's more of a pain in my nerves or something, and I've noticed it seems to only happen when I'm out of breath or my adrenaline is pumping. For example, today I was outside at work and I had the office phones forwarded to a spectralink (cell phone thing) so I could still answer them. A doctor called to schedule a surgery and I realized I didn't have a pen, so I ran all the way back and upstairs to not keep him waiting and to get it all down. By the time I got back in my chair, my back was THROBBING, and it continued until my heart slowed and I caught my breath more. I have no idea what it is or why it happens but it's annoying for sure.

I've also been feeling a general feeling of being unwell, like I'm always on the verge of getting sick. Fatigued, slightly achey, headaches, etc. Who knows if any of it is connected but since Azathioprine is the only drug i'm on now, it could be.

Female, 23, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in femur head & lumbar spine from long term prednisone use...

Current Meds:
Lexapro 10mg, Sulfasalizine 3000mg/day, Azasan 100mg

 
 


Luna0
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 11/10/2008 7:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Never had back pain with this drug. In fact this drug is way better then prednisone. *I am starting to hate having been on Prednisone* But anyway wow good to know though that can happen. Thanks ^_^
Tawn 
19 years old, College Student ~WAHOO GO CATS=)
 
Diagnosed in 2004
Currently on:
Remicade
Imuran 3pills/day
Benifiber
And other over the counter meds.


builttoride
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 11/12/2008 6:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, The night after writting this post, all hell broke loose. I woke with sever abdominal pain, started to throw up had a temperature and shakes, sore joints, as well as normal bowel issues. and it carried on this way for hours. increadily painful. I was on the vere of calling an ambulance. It carried on this way for about 12 hours.

I struggled in to hospital the next day to see my specialist for the prearranged appointment (lucky timing!). and yeah, he said I was showing classic symptoms of intollerance to Azathioprine, and took me off it straight away. which was a big relief to me.

Last night I went to bed a bit nervous, as I was scared it might all kick off again. but I am happy to report that although I did get the cramps and feeling of nausea, it was to a much lesser degree, ad I was not physically sick (although spent a fair bit of the night hovering around the bathroom or with a bucket... just in case. Today I am shattered, but generally feeling better. also not getting those nasty azathioprine headaches that I have had for the last month. I'm hopeful tha tonight will be one step closer to normal!

ediekristen

I would describe my backpain as more muscula than skeletal. It tends to affect me most when I first get into bed or relax in a chair, its not quite cramp, its more a dull and throbbing ache. It certianly isn't present all the time. but I was told that lower back pain was a possible side affect of the drug.

Red_34
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 11/12/2008 10:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry to hear that. I know how depressing it can be to pin your hopes on a medication only for it to turn around and bite you in the tush (literally!). So what are they going to do for you now?
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-worked great!, OA
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


builttoride
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 11/13/2008 7:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Yeah, Intollerance to drugs is a real pain, and because it takes a while to rear its ugly head sometimes, it can be very depressing, as you do tend to pin your hopes on each drug you try. This is the 3rd drug that I have been on that after a month or so has started to make me feel so much worse than I did before, (I'm also intollerant to Asacol and Mezavant). I'm having a couple of days off everything except prednisalone (on 40mg right now), just trying to clear my system a bit. Been feeling very different since coming off the drug, very sleepy and tired all the time, and a bit sick. I have been sleeping a lot (not long unbroken sleeps, just 14 hours a day trying to stay in bed). Basically my body feels very week and tired, but hopefully that will go away as I recover from the latest set back.

Tomorrow I am going back in to hospital again to see my prof. Plan is to try me on 6-mercaptopurine (which is similar to azathioprine, but lacks the active molecule that can cause nausea side effects). Apparently there is about a 66% sucess rate with this drug for those who are intolerant to Azathioprine. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to once again pin my hopes on this drug, for as far as I am aware, this is about the last drug option avaliable to me.

If it doesn't work out, well surgery rears its ugly head I guess... but I am trying as best I can to avoid that, or at least delay it, as you never know what medical breakthroughs may happen in the next couple of years! I will also try some alternative medicine options before i commit to surgery. I just feel that it is foolish to rule them out, and I would regret not trying to find another solution at a later date.

Red_34
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 11/13/2008 8:11 AM (GMT -6)   
If the 6mp causes you trouble, what about Remicade? Has this been discussed with you yet?

I know of the disappointment because I had all my hopes on 6mp being the miracle drug for me. But I found that I just can't metabolize it correctly. I am still taking it because it IS keeping out of major flares but I still have these little flares to contend with. But I hope that you won't have any bad reactions to 6mp - I will keep my fingers crossed for you!
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-worked great!, OA
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


builttoride
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 11/13/2008 9:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Remicade isn't offered for long term to people with UC here in UK on the NHS. They will administer one infusion only, with the aim to help either 6mp or azathioprine start working. Guess thats the problem with such an expensive drug.

Red_34
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 11/13/2008 12:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Ah ok, gotcha - didn't know you were in the UK. That stinks :(
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-worked great!, OA
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


builttoride
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 11/13/2008 1:05 PM (GMT -6)   
If I decided to pay for private health insurance then remicade may be an option, but I doubt that I could sight up for medical insurance when I have an existing condition. Ah well, mussen't grummble, I haven't had to pay a penny for any of my treatment or tests so far.

UC Fighter
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 11/14/2008 6:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Red_34 said...
Uc fighter, pancreatitis is a complication but it doesn't mean it will happen to you. I've been on 6mp for 2-3 years(?? I honestly can't remember how long!) but I have never had that complication. So I will keep my fingers crossed for you and I hope it works well for you.

Not to hijack builttoride's thread... I've been on the Imuran for a few days now and fortunately there's been no problems *knocks on wood*. On the lighter side, the other night my wife and I thought I was turning yellow and we freaked out. Turns out it just the lamp I was sitting under made me "look" yellow. shocked
 Current Rx:
 400mg Asacol 6x / day
 40mg Prednisone / day
 Mesalamine Enemas (nightly)
 


Red_34
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 11/14/2008 6:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Lol, I know the feeling! I sometimes will look at my skin and think, Oh NO!!! I'm turning yellow! And then I realize that it's the lighting. I, of course, always keep an eye on the whites of my eyes to be sure they remain white.
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-worked great!, OA
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


ediekristen
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 11/14/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   
builttoride,

I was just thinking, maybe the back pain is a result of the stomach pain??
The reason I say that is I woke up at 4am today with really severe cramps and went to the bathroom about 6 times before falling back to sleep. Today it's been back and forth to the toilet and my stomach is really sore and burning, and now my back is KILLING me. It's right in the muscles on the side of my spine, and I think it might be because I'm overcompensating by trying to take weight/pressure off my stomach and I'm putting it all on my lower back instead, causing tension and pain. At least that's what I'm hoping it is. In general it just feels like a pain that's radiating throughout my entire lower torso and making me miserable :(

Female, 23, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in femur head & lumbar spine from long term prednisone use...

Current Meds:
Lexapro 10mg, Sulfasalizine 3000mg/day, Azasan 100mg

 
 


PaloPalo78
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 11/15/2008 6:58 AM (GMT -6)   

hey builttoride .. ive just seen your post about being in the uk and only having one shot at remicade .

Where i am in Berks they put you on a maintenance dose and can get at least 2 years worth of treatment . Infusions every 8 weeks some people go every 6 weeks if they cant last 8

I hear that alot of people going to the ward i use for infliximab / remicade also have this option . I was initially put on a front loading / booster course of 3 infusions and then made to stop but things started to slip so they quickly put me on a maintenance course. 

2 of the GI doctors said that they are "liberal" with it these days and even tried to push me to use Humira - but im waiting to see if remicade will work for now

i hope you can maybe see somebody else and get yourself some infusions if they are needed . It made a huge difference to me

Also i had a reaction to aza and switched to 6mp with no problems - I hope this too will work for you 


builttoride
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 11/16/2008 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks palo.

Thats interesting to hear, I suspect that it is to do with regional NHS budgets (since remicade is an expensive drug) I'm up in Edinburgh, and although they will do repeat infusions for Crohn's, I have been told that they will not do the same for Colitis... but I will ask anyway and try and twist their arms!

It is very nice to hear the 6mp worked for you after having issues with Azathioprine... I'm hoping my body will react like yours did! So far 2 nights at low dosage without any issues... although still feeling a bit erm... unsettled from the azathioprine incident.

Thanks.

UC Fighter
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 2/25/2009 11:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Long over due, but here's an update. I was able to take the Imuran for about 2 months, then it got nasty with me. Each time I took the pill (50mg) I would get more and more nautious until I was throwing up and it was really kicking my arse. The last time I took it, which was a month gap since the last time, I had me throwing up w/in 20 minutes and I felt like I had taken a 'food poisoning pill'. I was fatigued, nautious, vomiting, cramping, you name it. Again, weird how I was able to take it for 2 months with no symptoms, then it built up to be toxic for me.


Howright
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 2/26/2009 10:54 AM (GMT -6)   

 

I had the same thing happen recently . . . the first day or two I was on it I felt nausious but it went away.  about a month and a half after being on it and all of a sudden I started feeling miserable again.  I was taking it at night and would still be bad in the morning and by the time I would feel better, it was time to take my daily dose.  I had one of my bi-weekly blood tests done that week and my doctor called and told me to quit taking it because my livers were bad.  I went off it that day and felt better within 24 hours. 


 
Diagnosed January 07 - but realize I've been living with minor flare-ups for 10+ years. 
 
Asacol 3 pills/3 times a day.
 


kc70
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 3/1/2009 3:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been on Imuran for just over a month now and I believe I am "rejecting" it now. The same thing happened with me with Asacol: I tolerated it for a few weeks and then I lost my appetite, which led to severe dehydration, anemia, stomach pains and cramps, everything related to having my stomach be completely empty for a prolonged period. The past several days I'm starting to go through the same thing, while desperately trying to keep something in my system so I can continue taking my drugs. Oh, the irony. I believe I'll have to stop Imuran. I'll be phoning my doc this week.

But if anyone else has stories of med rejection by the body, I'd be interested to hear them.
38 year old woman
Diagnosed October 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Current meds: 20 mg Prednisone, 75 mg Imuran (about to boost to 100). About to start another round of antibiotics as well.
Failed meds: Asacol, Pentasa


nc_bri
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/2/2009 9:51 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been on Imuran for about a month now, at 150 per day. I take it usually with dinner. I haven't really noticed much in the way of stomach upset, but I do feel a bit more tired I think, and some days just generally unwell. I feel as if I have a low-grade fever, with headache and tiredness, but don't actually have a temperature. Also, I have a weird ache down at the very base of my tailbone, but I'm not sure if that's coming from the bone, if its muscular, or if it's inside me( rectum area). I think it might be the latter.
Other than that, I haven't had many of the old UC symptoms. I do notice that a couple of hours after I take my dosage my urine is very yellow. Anyone else have that?
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