Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Azathioprine and Side Effects - Please help

08-26-2010, 10:26 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Azathioprine and Side Effects - Please help

Hi Everyone,

I started on Azathioprine last Thursday so I was due to up my doseage today but haven't.

The side effects have just hit me like a train. I have nausea, dizziness and the runs like you wouldn't believe. Literally in the last half an hour I feel like I've been hit by a train and I want to just go home to bed.

My question is - how long is this going to last and has anyone any tips for getting through it?

Thank you all in anticipation of your help.

Jan x
08-26-2010, 11:34 AM   #2
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Rebecca85's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Nottingham, UK
I'm afraid I can't offer you any advice, but I can offer my sympathy! I took my first dose this morning (I have 50mg tablets so just took one to start) and I am feeling pretty queasy now. So please, does anyone have any advice???
Crohn's in the terminal ileum, dxed Jun '10

125mg azathioprine
4g Pentasa
08-26-2010, 01:35 PM   #3
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MapleLeafGirl's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
For me, I had some nausea and dizziness as well as extreme fatigue for the first couple of months and then nothing. It did get progressively better. I am now happy to say that I am side effect free. Taking it with food helps and as late in the day as possible. Make sure you keep up with your blood work as that will tell your doctor if there is something more serious happening. If you are really concerned, I would give your doctor a call.

Diagnosed: August 2006
Current Meds: Imuran (125 mg), Budesonide (9 mg)
08-26-2010, 02:27 PM   #4
Astra's Avatar
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Location: St Helens, Merseyside, United Kingdom

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Sorry girls, can't help with this only to say I will never take it again!
It's toxic!
Within 3 months I was covered in bleeding itchy hives all over my legs and torso!
My doc was dead shocked
never again!
I think all meds cause nausea at first til your body adjusts, just give it a bit longer


Dx Crohn's in TI 2005 symptoms for 15 years prior

BEEN ON -Azathioprine, 6MP, Prednisolone, Pentasa, Budesonide, Metronidazole, Humira, Methotrexate,

NOW ON -Amitriptyline 25mg
21/02/14 Right hemicolectomy surgery!/profile.p...4208290&ref=ts

No-one should make you feel inferior without your consent!

08-27-2010, 02:52 AM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United Kingdom
As you know, I felt like death warmed over yesterday as the side effects of Aza kicked in. Bearing in mind that I'm only in the first week of taking it and I'm only on 25mg. I should have doubled the dose yesterday but thought I'd wait until the weekend, just in case.

Anyway, I felt dreadful and drove home on auto-pilot trying not to pass wind (just in case) and looking for places to pull over just in case I had to. So I was feeling really sorry for myself when I got home. Then my husband surprised me by telling me he'd been and got me a cat! I love cats. He'd been to the rescue shelter on Tuesday and chosen the said animal and we pick it up tomorrow. I can't wait!

So - cure for the side effects of Aza - get a cat!!!! I still feel sick, but I don't care anymore!

Jan xxx
08-27-2010, 03:27 AM   #6
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Entchen's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Jan, that's so sweet!!!! I hope you and Rebecca both do really well on this med.
Dx: Moderate Crohn's in 3 locations
Doctor's orders: 200 mg Imuran
Have used: 4500 mg Pentasa, 4500 mg Salofalk, Flagyl, Cipro, 50 mg Prednisone, 9 mg Entocort.
Turned my Crohn's life around: ginger for nausea.
Claim to fame: "loopy and floppy" colon
08-27-2010, 02:12 PM   #7
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Nottingham, UK
Thanks! Today was much better, although I felt a bit queasy this afternoon, it passed quicker than yesterday, and I was able to eat a little bit of tea.
08-27-2010, 03:45 PM   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2010
I was on it for over 8 years. It took my body 6 weeks to get used to it. At start, I had similar side effects as you are describing, and I could not fall a sleep. At times, my dosage was elevated to 200mg (100 x 2/day) but typically 100mg. Its an effective drug with some bad side effects. I hated it. No 6 weeks post surgery, I am so happy being off this drug, BUT it kept me going for some time.
-Best wishes - Dan

1. Diagnosed with Crohn's UC 1995
2. Flagyl/Cipro Imuran in 80%remission 1997 2005
3. Used 5mp, asacol, 6mp, remicade, imuran, Cimzia, entocourt, Flagyl/Cipro and enemas/suppositories until 2010 with periodic relief.
4. July 9th 2010 total ProctoCollectomy surgery! Free at Last!
08-29-2010, 02:31 PM   #9
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Join Date: Aug 2010
hmm thats so strange ive been taking azathioprine for a couple of years now nd had no side effects what so ever. I'm taking 150mg a day too! saying that mind i dont think its helped one bit with my crohns
08-29-2010, 02:51 PM   #10
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Malmö, Sweden
I was only on aza for 3 weeks, when suddenly severe vomiting kicked in half an hour after swallowing the dose (pill) - were then taken off the med. I feel with you, Jan.
08-29-2010, 03:28 PM   #11
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Rebecca85's Avatar
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Location: Nottingham, UK
Oh dear, you mean the side effects could get worse instead of better over time?
08-29-2010, 05:33 PM   #12
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scifi-enthusiast's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: McAllen, Texas
Only one I've had since I started in Feb. is muscle pains, which most of the time aren't bad enough to warrant painkillers.
Diagnosis: March 2008 (7 days after resection)
Surgery: 1 emergency blind resection because of hemorrhage & massive blood loss (March 2008), Reconnection of Colon (June 2008), Removal of billiard ball size abscess (Dec. 2010)
Meds: Lialda-2.4gm (every other day), Imuran-0mg, Pred-0mg, Calcium+d, Humira-40mg, Sulfasalazine-500mg
Previous Meds: Pentasa (didn't work)
Currently on SSD & SSI
08-30-2010, 01:09 AM   #13
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I am on 150 mg a day since last august. I still feel fatigue and sleepy, and I also dont think AZA is working for me. (I flared recently) Other than that I have excessive hair growth in my chin (I HATE facial hair) and I sweat like a pig all the time. The symptoms never became less, or gone away in the year I am taking the pill. next week I have a doctors appointment and within September I am meeting an immunologist to discuss about other solutions
08-30-2010, 04:46 AM   #14
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Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Hmm.. I've been on it 9 years now. They monitored me carefully after I took the first dose but I've never had any side effects!
08-30-2010, 05:51 AM   #15
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Rossy's Avatar
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Location: Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
I suppose in the majority of cases it must be of benefit, however it did'nt work for me.
I tried it last year, 150mg a day and within 3 weeks i was doubled up in pain, I could'nt stand straight and also could'nt lay flat so had to come off it due to presumed pancreatis, which was really bad
You got to try them to find this out I guess, but it is a little strange when the meds you take, make you feel worse than the actual disease they're trying to help!!
09-01-2010, 08:46 PM   #16
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· Stoma
It didn't work for me, but i was only on it for 3 weeks before I had pancreatitis. For lots of people it's worked fine, but I'm one of the lucky sort who seems to always get the rare side effect.
09-01-2010, 09:58 PM   #17
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: San Francisco, California
I would call your doctor with the nausea. It can be a normal side effect or it could be a much more severe complication that leads to liver damage if you prolong taking the medication. Better to be safe than sorry and see what they want. I had to stop within a week of starting because I developed a 102 fever and nausea which are tell tale signs of a serious issue metabolizing the drug.
09-02-2010, 01:24 AM   #18
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Well the nausea is lessening and I am due a blood test today, so I will wait for the results before I up the dose.

Another aza related worry: I have been on a 1/2 dose for a week now, and I feel SO much better. No pain or discomfort. I thought I was imagining it but I have normal BMs! (anyone need reminding what they are? Lol). But now I'm worried that it has worked too fast, and maybe my white cells are going to drop too low, or I'll get one of the really nasty side effects. Isn't it wierd to worry about a med working??
09-02-2010, 04:08 PM   #19
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Location: Langley, B.C.
Hey there glad things are getting a liytle better for you. I had woozyness, pain in the gut, passed out once, and puked a few times when i first started last christmas. Took about a week and then it was great and was in remission until a major family event in april which sent me into my current flare. Onto remicade now.

Diagnosed October 2007
Currently on Remicade 400mg (October 2010)

Tried Budesonide (april 2010-july 2010) & Asacol (october 2007- dec 2009) & Imuran (Dec 2009-Dec 2011)
09-03-2010, 03:05 PM   #20
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Join Date: Sep 2009
I have tried Aza and Purinethol (the pure form of Imuran) and ended up so sick, I wished for death. Within a few days I developed pancreatitus and was hospitalized for it. So far all the drugs I have taken won't work. I hope it works for you.
Have tried:
Pentasa (gave me severe migraines)
Entocort (stopped working after a month)
Prednisone (worked but nasty side effects and doc doesn't like me on it long term)
Imuran (developed pancreatitis)
6 MP (went into hospital with acute pancreatitis)

Now taking 25 mg of Methotrexate injection every week.....
09-03-2010, 04:55 PM   #21
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Rebecca - How did the blood test go?

I've been taking Imuran since April and I was super worried about side effects and such and my white blood cells being too low. My docs have been watching my bloods regularly and even though sometimes my white blood count does vary and ends up on the low side, it's still a "normal" low and hasn't been cause for too much worry form my doc. Just make sure you stay away from people that are obviously sick and wash your hands a lot when you're out in public places. You should be able to avoid catching any germies even if your WBC is somewhat lower.

As far as side effects, the only thing I have noticed is that I break out in heat rash rather quickly now on the trunk of my body when I'm outside too long doing anything. But it usually clears up within a couple days. Now it's getting cooler outside, so it's not much of a problem. Also, if I take my pills late I get a headache. But no stomach ache, vomiting, fever, or anything like that. It's been 5 months now! Woohoo!
February 2010 - diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
January 2011 - Inflammation downgraded from moderate-severe to mild with no symptoms!
January 2014 - adopted a mostly Paleo diet
May 2015 - still in remission!

Currently Taking
Humira - 40mg/week
Imuran - 125 mg/day
Calcium magnesium citrate
Fermented cod liver oil/butter blend
Culturelle probiotics
Vitamin D
Vitamin C
09-05-2010, 01:20 AM   #22
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Location: Nottingham, UK
No word on the blood test, they said if I didn't hear assume it's normal. But I will phone tomorrow and double check. I will also ask about the dosage- if 50mg has had this effect already I don't think I need to go onto the full 100mg.

I already picked up a cold (my baby niece has been suffering from a chronic infection and I don't want to avoid her!). I should be ok at work, because I got into the habit of handwashing and gels when I was on the pred.

The side effects have cleared up now I think. I have still been taking my tablets in the morning because I haven't been sleeping well, and I didn't want to lie awake feeling nauseus! But I did find that the bigger the breakfast, the better I would feel later.
09-05-2010, 05:34 AM   #23
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Join Date: Jul 2010
I've been on Aza for 10 days now and so far no side effects...I'm currently on 100mg and am due to increase it to 150mg at the end of next week. I will have a blood test as next week to see how everything is going with it and then another blood test a fortnight after that (after been on 150mg for a fortnight). I'm terrified of the side effects of these medications, but I'm hoping that I won't have any and that we will find something that will work for me...I actually have been feeling a little better this past week or so - so am hopeful this is the wonder drug!

May 2010 Crohn's
(Symptoms for years, just hoped they'd go away!)
* Prednisone 12.5mg
* Imuran 175mg
* Vitamin D
* Multivitamin
* Fish Oil
09-05-2010, 11:22 AM   #24
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Rebecca85's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Nottingham, UK
So I'm not the only one to get relief so quickly? Phew, that's a relief! It just made me a bit worried because everyone said it could take 3 months to work properly, and I noticed the effects in more like 3 days! Well Duck, I hope you continue to do well on the aza and let's hope we both get remission!
09-14-2010, 04:22 PM   #25
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kenny's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
I told my GI that I was feeling a lot better within weeks of going on it and he laughed and said it was just due to positive attitude. But I seriously noticed a decreased discomfort with environmental allergies to a point I no longer had to take any anti-histamines. I had taken half a pill every night to sleep prior to going on imuran and all my allergies seemed to disappear with a week. Not only that but I had a history of gout and other arthritic joint pain that also no longer requires other treatment.
Rectum? Damn near Killed'em

Diagnosed July of 2009 / Surgery Oct 2009 / 175mg Imuran since Jan 2010
09-15-2010, 07:02 PM   #26
mark squire
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Hi Guys im on this to, ive not had any side effects as yet. I was on it for a couple of months, then i went in for an op to remove part of my small bowel, i was hoping to come of this drug but my doc put me back on it and on a higher dose. Really not keen to be on this because of the possible side effects. ACG101 did you say you have come off this drug since an operation? if so what are you taking instead if anything?? Should i be on something less harmful???
09-19-2010, 03:10 AM   #27
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Zalanicht's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Penticton, British Columbia
I've been on 150 mg for 4 months now with no side effects what's so ever but that's me being healthy after a surgery. I really think that most side effects of some drugs are not from the drugs but from the disease itself.
28cm sm and L bowel removed, 200 mg Aza, monthly b12 injection,
calcium + vit d. Enjoying my surgery induced remission!
09-19-2010, 11:12 AM   #28
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ChefShazzy's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pointe Claire, Quebec
Hi Jan, I hope you are adjusting well to the Aza. I was on it for a month, it started out OK, but the side effects got worse as time went on. This isn't the case for everyone; I hope it works for you!! Good luck!
Diagnosis: Crohn's Disease (May 2007)
Meds: Double-dose of Remicade, every 6 weeks
*I'm going to start saying I'm in REMISSION now! Three years since my last hospitalization!*
09-20-2010, 12:08 PM   #29
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gringo43's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Mississippi
Scared also..

I finally got up the courage to start the azathioprine...just took my first dose{50mg}....this stuff scares the heck outta me....the docs tested my TPMT levels and found I have two of the genotypes that don't bod well for aza use...also I'm really TPMT deficient...still can't believe they've decided to go this route after reading all the warnings against TPMT deficient use...just hoping they know what the hell they're doing!

I didn't mean to hijack the thread....hope everyone here gets good results from this stuff...thanks for listening.

09-23-2010, 12:41 PM   #30
Join Date: Nov 2008
we were told to take it at night on an empty stomach. my son has had no issues once we switched.

Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Azathioprine and Side Effects - Please help
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