Have you taken Azathioprine to treat your colitis?
A common brand name for this medication is “Imuran® or Azasan®”
If you’re answer is “yes”, please click the review button below and add your review of your experience. There’s alot of UC’ers who are wondering how other’s like you have done with the medication.
Here is an informational page from the National Institute of Health – azathioprine page
Copied from wikipedia:
Azathioprine (INN, /ˌæzəˈθaɪɵpriːn/, abbreviated AZA) is an immunosuppressive drug used in organ transplantation and autoimmune diseases and belongs to the chemical class of purine analogues. Synthesized originally as a cancer drug and a prodrug for mercaptopurine in 1957, it has been widely used as an immunosuppressant for more than 50 years.
A few stories from writers on the site who have used azathioprine (also called Imuran):
- How Do You Deal with this Chronic Disease Mentally?
- 6 Years Later and Finally Inflammation Free
- Fun with Imuran
- Medicine or Not, I’m Wondering About Imuran
Submit your review
My colitis could not be managed by steroid treatment. After a 4 year long flare, 20kg of body weight lost and a lot of fighting with docs I finally found a doctor who would listen to me and he put me on Aza. 14 years on and I haven't had a flare. I thought my life was over. I've had two kids, heart surgery to deal with the consequences of being on steroids on and off for 10 years. I have a quality of life that I couldn't even imagine in my wildest dreams. When I was in remission I managed to make the life choices that will probably help me stay in remission. I've chosen a career path that lets me manage stress much better, I've cut alcohol almost completely and a lot of sugar. I'm also exercising a lot more, but by no means a health freak.
I cannot emphasize enough how much Aza changed my life. I'm monitoring my blood every two months and I have had some dips below where I want to be on white blood cells, but small changes when that happens keeps me healthy. I've gained back the weight and then some and my life is amazing. I've been asked if I want to go off the Aza but the doc says the relapse is 50/50 and as long as I can keep flare free I'm happy. I'm not one to sit in the sun and the hospital does a good job of monitoring my stats and health. Every time I have an endoscopy they conclude that I still have signs of inflammation, but I don't notice it at all.
Being monitored regularly even though I'm in remission is also a big stress relief.
Benefits: 0 flares for 13 years
Drawbacks: none, not even more susceptible to infection
I tried Aza in 2017 after Balsalazide stopped working for me. After about 3 days I started to feel awful - lethargic, nauseous and sick. I continued to take it for about a week, and these side effects didn’t dissipate. My bloods showed that my liver enzymes had skyrocketed, so I had to come off the drug immediately.
I’m now taking Humira. However, I’m starting to build up antibodies to Adalimumab, so once again I was prescribed Azathioprine, but this time on a much reduced dose. Unfortunately, after around a week I started to notice similar symptoms as before. My ALT level had increased dramatically, so again I was taken off the drug.
Diagnosed in 2004. Asacol and sulfasalazine since. Short courses of prednisone for flares. I have a mild case of UC. Had a bad flare in 2017 that was probably partly due to work stress, couldn't get rid of it. That was new for me. Usually prednisone and enemas got rid of flares. Not this time. 60 mg of prednisone for 3 months plus enemas didn't work. I lost 18 lbs and was skinny to begin with. GI doc put me on Imuran 100 mg daily. Was still taking asacol and sulfa (still am). Flare went away quickly, but that may not have had anything to do with the Imuran based on how long it takes to start working. I think it was more that I took a month off work that started the healing. Been on for 2 years with no major side effects that I can directly attribute to the drug. 2 months after starting Imuran, my knees went bad. I never had any issues with my knees before. They are still not good. GI doc said he didn't think Imuran was to blame. I still wonder. I do think my hair is thinner now. It was thinning before, so it is hard to tell how much happened since starting Imuran. I will have lab work done today to check my levels. Imuran also keeps my eczema in check. I am so much happier now that eczema isn't an issue. I always said I would get rid of my eczema before I got rid of my UC since my UC is a mild case. I haven't seen any posts that talk about Imuran helping their eczema, but it does for me.
I was not able to use Immuran due to my immediate pancreatic pain.
Recently weaned off it after taking it for two years and feel tremendously better in every way. Not a good drug.
I have been on Imuran for 8 years. I was skeptical at first because of the possible side effects and did not go into remission until I added Remicade. I did try to get off Imuran a few years ago but within a month I was having severe symptoms again. I have to be evaluated for TB, low white blood count and skin cancer but, so far, so good.
I was given azathioprine for the treatment of a UC flare-up back in 2005. I know it is labeled as an "immuno-modulator" however, I regard it to be a "chemical immuno-suppressant". While taking azathioprine for just over 13 years, I very well know what the drug did to me. On the positive, it did help (along with big doses of steroids) to calm down my colon bleeding from my 2005 flare-up. I also believe it did help stretch out the time between flares. When I had a major flare up on December 23rd, 2013, my Gastro Doc put me on Humira Biologic Immuno-Suppressant with the azathioprine and more steroids. On the downside of the combo of these drugs, it seems I could catch as cold by just looking at someone with a cold. Also, it seems I would catch a stomach bug just by being in the same room as someone with a stomach bug. When Humira gave me heart failure after only 8 months of use (= August 2014), my gastro doc changed me to SimponI biologic immuno-suppressant injections. In early April 2018, I came down with a severe sinus infection. AND, the sinus infection was quite contagious. After almost 4 months of taking large doses of antibiotics and up to 30 mg of steroids a day for the sinus infection, I went to my gastro Doc and demanded he take me off Azathioprine AND Simponi Biologic Injection. I couldn't beat the incredible sinus infection. Once off azathioprine and Simponi and after 40 days of huge doses of antibiotics, the sinus infection cleared up enough for my ENT Doc to do sinus surgery to suck out the remaining infection. I am now on Entyvio IV infusion. During the 13 years of taking Azathioprine, I had 8 teeth die and fall apart. These 8 teeth were all my chewing molars on my upper row of teeth. It has taken 9 months for me to get through the azathioprine withdrawals.
I am 63 years old and was diagnosed with UC about 20 years ago. I am allergic to sulfa drugs and found this out due to an allergic reaction to Asulfadine that put me into a terrible flare. Prednisone and a long hospital stay ended the flare and I then transitioned to Imuran. In spite of not liking potential side effects the Imuran helped me to stay in remission for 10 years. I tried to wean myself off of Imuran, with my doctor's agreement, but wound up in another flare. At that point Imuran stopped working for me, I tried to get back on it, but it didn't work the second time. I am now on Humira. For those it works for Imuran is a great option. I wish it would have continued to work for me so that I was taking a pill, not a shot with the Humira.
I was on Azathioprine for about ten years, and it did a great job keeping me in remission. I kind of worried about side effects (cancer, etc.) but they never happened. Then one fine day, it stopped working! Oh well, it was a good run. With this disease, you take it one day at a time.
I am 65yrs old and was diagnosed with mild UC in 1979. I was fortunate that my symptoms went into remission for 23yrs.
From 2003 I started to have mild symptoms which would settle after a course of prednisolone.
Then in 2014 I had a major flare and was in hospital for 2weeks after having three Infusions of Remicade I was then put on 100 mgs a day of azathioprine. When I first started taking it I was feeling nauseous so I was told to split the dose and take 50mgs in the morning and 50mgs in the evening which helped. I did loose some hair but in time my body a justed to it the hair loss stopped.
In April 2018 I was feeling better and symptom free and was following SCDiet and making my own yogurt and not wanting to take azathioprine because of it's repercussions stopped taking azathioprine. Big mistake! With in 6 weeks started having symptoms so went back on azathioprine and a course of prednisolone which did not work .
Ended up in hospital for two weeks with severe Ulcerative Colitis and nearly lost my bowel. My blood results kept showing I had elevated reading's from azathioprine so now I am on 50mgs a day plus Remicade Infusions every 8 wks.
I sometimes think I would rather be rid of my bowel than be on these medications but in saying that the azathioprine did work for me for a few years giving me quality of life.
I started site and the eNewsletter(you can join that below) shortly after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in October of 2008 with severe pancolitis (when my whole colon was inflamed).
For me, it was a very rough start with severe symptoms. Getting bounced from medication to medication was not easy or too helpful. But, I did meet another UC’er, changes several parts of my diet, and of course the rest is history.
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