Azathioprine Reaction???

    • April 13, 2009 at 11:19 am

      I’ve been taking Azathioprine (50mg 3 times per day) for several weeks now. Just a couple of weeks ago I started having digestive problems indigestion and gas (what I’d call a “sour” stomach).

      Last week I started having loose bowels and actually vomited. The numbness in my hands and feet really flaired up and my energy level dropped off dramatically.

      I remembered my neurologist saying that if I began to feel really “dragged out” and started having flu like symptoms to stop taking the Azathioprine. So Friday evening I skipped my dosage and haven’t taken it since. My energy level has returned and my digestive system has cleared up.

      There has been a stomach virus going around so I’m not sure that my problems are related to the Azathioprine or the virus.

      My question is: Have any of you on Azathioprine had something similar happen?

      I am calling my neurologist in a few minutes to get his take on this. I plan to restart the Azathioprine to see if this happens again unless he tells me not to. Interestingly I had blood work done last Wednesday so hopefully if it is related they will have captured the cause in my blood chemistry.

      Thanks for your responses … I will post what the neurologist tells me.

      Hope you had a hoppy Easter … He is Risen!


    • Anonymous
      April 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm

      Hi GaryO,
      Side effects listed:
      What are the possible side effects of azathioprine?
      Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
      Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

      pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
      fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, weakness, muscle pain, flu symptoms;
      severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
      severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, fast heart rate;
      pain or burning with urination;
      stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
      white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.
      Less serious side effects may include:

      mild upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite;
      hair loss; or
      skin rash.
      This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect.

      What other drugs will affect azathioprine?
      Before taking azathioprine, tell your doctor if you are taking, have taken, or need to take any of the following medicines:

      allopurinol (Zyloprim);
      mercaptopurine (Purinethol);
      methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Immunex);
      a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);
      cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune);
      olsalazine (Dipentum), or sulfasalazine (Azulfidine);
      sulfamethoxasole and trimethoprim (Trimpex, Proloprim, Bactrim, Septra, others); or
      an ACE inhibitor such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), fosinopril (Monopril), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), or trandolapril (Mavik).
      This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with azathioprine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

      I took Cellcept, and now I am on chemotherapy with Cytoxan.
      I did not get any side effects from Cellcept which is similar to what you are on, but it did not help me.
      I do get side effects from the Cytoxan, but dealing with it.
      In any of these, they have to watch your bloodwork monthly, especially your white blood count, plus do a urinalysis.
      But if I remember in some of your past posts–don’t you take vitamin supplements and other over-the-counter drugs? Does your doctor or pharmacist know of what you are taking, in case of drug interference?

    • April 13, 2009 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you KEDASO. Yes the doc does have an extensive list of everything I take.

      Unfortunately he was out sick today and they wouldn’t give me the results of my blood work from last week until he has reviewed. They did not do an urinalysis.

      I am supposed to hear back from him on Wednesday and I’m not taking anything until I do hear back.


    • Anonymous
      April 21, 2009 at 12:24 am

      Hey Gary! They got me scheduled May 12 to go to Pitt Trauma Center in Greenville. I am to get the same thing you are taking but by IV. After reading your post I am scared to death now! I could not tolerate the Rituxan they gave me and refused taking it. So now they are telling me I have no choice!
      Linda H

    • Anonymous
      April 23, 2009 at 4:10 am

      Hi, Linda.

      Just as we’re all affected by CIDP differently, so we all tend to respond to treatment differently. I’ve been on azathioprine for nearly six months and have had no side effects from it — and I’m one of those people who tends to have stomach problems from just about anything (had to have steroids IV since orally they made me quite sick: I was one of the few people who actually lost weight when taking them since I couldn’t eat).

      Every drug is going to have side effects: even aspirin can cause stomach problems. The key is to determine if the positive results outweigh the negative ones. For me, a combination of high dose IV steroids and azathioprine got me out of my wheelchair and walking, and the azathioprine alone is now keeping me on my feet.

      Best wishes in the battle,


    • April 23, 2009 at 10:26 am

      Hi Gary,
      Ken mentioned that he took cell cept and that it is similar to what you are taking. If so, at the symposium they said that cell cept is not really a drug of choice any more for cidp as it may cause CNS involvement.
      Dawn Kevies mom

    • Anonymous
      April 23, 2009 at 5:29 pm

      Thanks for the positive outlook on this drug. I still dread taking it but hope that it helps me out some. My stomach is also in bad shape. Keep tummy problems with this Lupus. So maybe the drug will stop that too! They use Cellcept alot for Lupus patients that have Kidney Involvement. So far my kidneys except for passing stones here and there are okay. But was not sure about Cellcept for CIDP. Hope they get you feeling better soon! You sure have had alot of problems with this CIDP and I am praying for you Gary that this drug works and gets you well. You indeed need to finally get a break! Missed ya in here! Hugs
      Linda H

    • Anonymous
      April 27, 2009 at 9:10 pm

      Did your insurance cover the Rituxin? If so, how did you get it approved? What side effects did you have?


    • Anonymous
      April 28, 2009 at 8:29 am

      Hi Tousley! My insurance did approve the drug but I had to wait a few weeks for the doctor’s office to contact my insurance company and let them know it was a must for me! They really did not want to cover it and gave me a hard time about it. Wanting to know what other options they had for me!
      Would have to pull out the insurance statement to see what it ended up costing. I think it was $13,000. Not cheap! But I am not sure if that was for all services rendered or not. Got quite a few bills from that treatment. Had 3 done and just could not tolerate it. I got all hot and flushed like I was burning on fire. Vomiting and upset stomach. Stomach cramps and migraines and then a weird rash appeared on my skin when I got home from it after the 3rd round.
      Have you ever seen a person get scarlet fever and they break out in a strange rash that ends up peeling the skin afterwards. That is what happened when I had it! And then it made me go into a Lupus flare. So that drug is out for me! Never again will I take Rituxan!

    • Anonymous
      July 31, 2009 at 7:54 pm

      [QUOTE=GaryO Houston]I’ve been taking Azathioprine (50mg 3 times per day) for several weeks now. … Have any of you on Azathioprine had something similar happen? …



      sorry for the late response, but I just signed up here. I had a VIOLENT reaction to azathioprine this spring, just horrible (so bad I thought it might have been the flu). I thought I was having a frightening CIDP relapse caused by the flu and actually called the paramedics to check on me, as all of a sudden I could not walk. I had a terrible splitting headache, chills, and great weakness. All these symptoms stopped after I stopped taking the drug. I did take the drug 2 weeks on a low dose w/o any bad side effects, but the day I started on a therapeutic dose (100 mg day, I think) the reaction started. I had been tested (blood work) beforehand to make sure it was safe, but the test was either not done right or didn`t predict this outcome.

      my two cents,