An alternative treatment for Lupus
What is Imuran?
Imuran is the trade name for azathioprine, an immunosuppressive medication. It is used to reduce the body's natural immunity in patients. It is very strong drug.
If it works successfully, a patient should be able to reduce or eliminate the need for prednisone in their Lupus treatment plan. However, Imuran poses a long term risk of cancer and that should be taken into consideration as well.
Imuran and Prednisone
Prednisone should not be stopped with the addition of Imuran to the treatment. Prednisone dose should remain the same until there is improvement shown after beginning the Imuran. Then the prednisone should be tapered slowly at one to five milligrams a week to avoid problems.
What is Imuran supposed to do?
If Imuran is working, after about 3 to 12 months the patient should notice a gradual improvement in how he/she feels. This improvement can be measured clinically by the decrease in the number or severity of symptoms, and for the need for less prednisone.
Azathioprine sometimes causes nausea or vomiting. Taking this medicine after meals or at bedtime may lessen stomach upset. Ask your health care professional for other ways to lessen these effects.
If you vomit shortly after taking a dose of azathioprine, check with your doctor. You will be told whether to take the dose again or to wait until the next scheduled dose.
What are some special considerations when taking Imuran?
Imuran may cause some bone marrow suppression and elevation of liver enzymes. Therefore, the doctor will check blood tests regularly to monitor for significant changes.
A patient may have to stay on this medication indefinitely. Imuran is a long-term treatment.
The main clinical improvement occurs during the first year of therapy. Improvement is gradual and it may take several months before a patient begins to notice a change in symptoms.
Dosage varies from 100 mg. to 200 mg. per day. The patient must take the medication exactly as prescribed by the doctor and never increase, decrease, or stop taking this medication without checking with the physician.
Unless the doctor determines that the benefits outweigh the risks, a woman should not take Imuran while pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
What are the possible adverse effects of taking Imuran?
Imuran is generally tolerated very well without serious adverse effects. The patient should check with the doctor immediately if any of the following occur:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever or chills
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Skin rash
- Cough or shortness of breath
- Cold sores in the mouth or on the lips
- Blood in the urine or stool
- Unusual bruising
- Missed menstrual period
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin
- Hair loss
- Muscle or joint pain
- Darkening of the skin and fingernails
The materials and information on this site are intended for educational and informational purposes only. The materials and information are not intended to replace the services of a trained health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians and/or other health care professionals. You should consult your physician on specific medical questions, particularly in matters requiring diagnosis or medical attention.
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