Relevant answers to your frequent questions...

Imuran, Azathioprine (generic): Frequently Asked Questions

Is hypertension a side effect of long term therapy of sarcoidosis with prednisone and Imuran?

Prednisone causes salt retention and may cause hypertension. Imuran does not cause an increase in blood pressure.

Is azathioprine & mycophenolate's dose limiting side effect leukopenia?

For azathioprine, yes. For mycophenolate, the GI effects become an issue at higher doses although you can still see the leukopenia. 9)

Q Can azathioprine be used in pregnancy?

A The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is yes, although obviously common sense and good practice dictates that the fewer drugs used in pregnancy the better. Q Should I not consider the pill as a contraceptive means? I have a problem in that other methods don’t suit me. A Many years ago (and more recently) we have looked at the pill in our lupus patients and have found that in general there are no major problems, especially with the mini pill. ...

If I am pregnant, should I continue using Imuran and Mestinon?

Mestinon is probably safe in pregnancy. However; other than tylenol and codeine the FDA does not declare any medicine SAFE in pregnancy. Imuran can suppress the immune system and we do not know how it affects the fetus. These issues should be discussed with your doctor.

How prevalent is cancer after treatment with Imuran?

Ginzler Many patients are concerned about the risk of cancer after having lupus for a long time, or after being treated for many years with immunosuppressive drugs such as Imuran. A study including almost 10,000 patients with lupus found that the risk to develop cancer is mostly related to lymphomas. Smoking increases the risk for cancer in lupus patients, just as it does in other people. So far, there is no good evidence for a link between Imuran and cancer in lupus patients. EB

If a person has been on prednisone and azathioprine for over six months and no improvement has been made, what other alternatives are there?

First, the physician will have to reevaluate the nature of sarcoidosis. If the lungs are completely scarred no medicine will be effective. If the disease is active, explore the possibility of giving hydroxychloroquine 200 mg BID.

Are there complications from the drugs, such as tamoxifen, imuran, and the inflammatory drugs Prednisone and indocin, used to treat the disease?

All drugs have complications in some patients. Allergic or toxic reactions may occur to any drug in an individual patient. Prednisone has many possible side effects, some of which include altered mood, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cataracts, thin skin with easy bruising, swollen cheeks, increased appetite and weight gain, difficulty sleeping and others. Imuran (azathioprine) may cause hepatitis (inflamed liver), pancreatitis, low white blood cell count. ...

Of the drugs Imuran, Chlorambucil, Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, and Cytoxan, which is the best in treatment of WG?

The best drug that has been tested for Wegener's is Cytoxan. The others are all good, but the problem with the others is, there is no good study to show that they are as effective as Cytoxan.
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