What is Azathioprine?
Azathioprine is used to treat autoimmune diseases (diseases in which the body starts to attack itself) in multiple species including dogs and cats. It is often used in combination with other drugs to suppress the immune system.
Who is it for?
Azathioprine is for multiple species including dogs and cats.
What are the benefits?
||Medication for the treatment of certain immune-mediated diseases
||Azathioprine is a prescription drug that lowers immune system function
||Tablet form Azathioprine allows convenient treatment
Azathioprine is a prescription immunosuppressive medication used to treat immune-mediated diseases, such as immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, certain types of kidney disease, autoimmune skin diseases, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is often used in conjunction with other drugs to suppress the immune system.
How does Azathioprine work?
Azathioprine treats certain immune-mediated diseases by means of its active ingredient. Azathioprine suppresses the immune system to treat disease conditions triggered by overreaction (over-activity) of the immune system.
Is there a generic equivalent available?
Azathioprine is a generic medication.
How is it given?
Azathioprine is given by mouth. Azathioprine is a very potent medication; wash hands after handling the medication. Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. If you have difficulty giving the medication, contact your veterinarian. This medication should only be given to the pet for whom it was prescribed.
What results can I expect?
Although Azathioprine is a very potent medication, it may take several weeks to have a noticeable effect.
What form(s) does it come in?
Common Drug Name
What should I discuss with my veterinarian while considering Azathioprine?
Talk to your veterinarian about what type of outcome is expected. Have your veterinarian explain the other treatment options that may be available to treat your pet's condition. Understand what physical exams and laboratory testing will be needed while your pet is taking Azathioprine.
Tell your veterinarian if your pet has liver disease, pancreatic disease, cancer, may be pregnant or used for breeding.
Notify your veterinarian of any other medications or supplements your pet is taking. Also if your pet has had any reactions to previous medications.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to the regular schedule. Do not give two doses at once.
What is the most important information I should know?
There is a potential for this medication to have serious toxic effects including bone marrow suppression, bleeding, and increased susceptibility to infections and cancers. Use exactly as directed and follow up with the laboratory testing recommended by your veterinarian. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any
Who should not take it?
Do not use in breeding or pregnant animals. Use with caution in animals with liver or pancreatic disease. Use with extreme caution in cats, who are more susceptible to toxic effects, especially bone marrow suppression and bleeding. Use milk replacer if the mother is receiving Azathioprine.
What side effects may be seen when taking Azathioprine?
The most common side effect is suppression of the bone marrow. This may lead to anemia, with pale gums, weakness, and lethargy; bruising or bleeding tendencies; and decreased white blood cell counts, which may cause the animal to be more at risk of infections. Other side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, poor hair growth, skin rashes, pancreatitis, and liver injury, perhaps with jaundice (yellowing of the gums, skin, or eyes). Contact your veterinarian if you notice vomiting, lack of appetite, infections, bleeding or bruising.
How is it stored?
Store in a tight, light-resistant, childproof container at room temperature. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
What should I do if I know of or suspect there has been an overdose?
If you know or suspect your pet has had an overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What should I avoid when giving my pet Azathioprine?
Consult your veterinarian before using Azathioprine with vitamins, supplements, modified live vaccines, enalapril and similar medications, sulfasalazine, corticosteroids, warfarin, trimethoprim/sulfa and allopurinol, since interactions may occur. Because your pet's immune system will be suppressed, your pet will be more susceptible to infections. Avoid situations in which your pet may be exposed to other animals (going outside unsupervised, breed shows, training classes, etc.).
Where is more information available?
Ask your veterinarian, consult with one of our pharmacists at 1-800-447-3021, or see the
Patient Information Sheet on this medication.