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Imuran, 6-MP

( azathioprine ), ( 6-mercaptopurine )

 

50 mg yellow to off-white, scored, overlapping circle-shaped tablet


Purpose

For immunosuppression

 

Indications

Severe systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, steroid-resistant polymyositis or dermatomyositis.


Dosage

100 to 150 mg ( two or three tablets ) daily is the usual dose.


Side effects

Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine are closely related drugs with almost identical actions. Azathioprine is the more frequently used. Side effects include opportunistic infections and possibility of late development of cancer, so far rare to absent in humans. Gastrointestinal ( stomach ) distress is occasionally noted. Hair loss is unusual, and there appears to be little effect on the sperm or the eggs. There are no bladder problems. Although liver damage has been reported, the drug is usually well tolerated.

 

Special hints

Regular blood tests are required. Patients taking these drugs should never take allopurinol ( Zyloprim ) at the same time since the combination of drugs can be fatal. Once the patient responds to this drug, it is often possible to reduce the dose. Theoretically, this decreases the risk of late side effects. Azathioprine has been shown to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and is very effective in some patients. Most people seem not to have any side effects but there is still concern about what might happen over the long run.

         
         

     

         

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