Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Imuran/Azathioprine/6-MP » Routine Blood Test Results for Imuran?

08-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
watertiger21's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Colorado
Routine Blood Test Results for Imuran?

Hey everyone!

I've been taking AZA (Imuran) for six-ish years now. I started this medication back when I was in high school and I didn't care about knowing details so I just left everything up to my parents and doctor. (I was just happy I was feeling better, ya know? ) Now that I'm on my own years later, I'm trying to figure out what all the details are and what they mean... more specifically, what all the routine blood tests mean for a person taking AZA.

1. There's a test that looks at liver function... anyone know what it's called?
2. How does Imuran supposedly affect CRP (C-Reactive Protein) level? Or does it...
3. Imuran is supposed to lower white blood cell numbers, correct?

Thanks all!
08-02-2013, 04:28 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Chicago, Illinois

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The routine blood tests help doctors rule out liver and pancreas complications that are sometimes brought on by taking Imuran/Aza/6-MP. These blood tests are also used to make sure you are taking a therapeutic level of the medication which increases the chances that the medication will help you.

The dosages for these medications are prescribed based on your weight so routine testing even after a few years will tell them if you need your dosage altered based on your physical weight.

your 6-TGN and 6-MMPN levels are what are routinely monitored to make sure you are at a therapeutic dose. these levels are taken through a blood test.

Your CRP indicates the level of inflammation in the body. When there is inflammation in the body, you will have an increase in white blood cell activity which means your white blood cells are trying to fight off what they believe is an invader/foreign substance in the body.

Bilirubin blood test is what is commonly used to evaluate liver function

There are two serum tests (I can't remember the names) that doctors can use to test the pancreas. Also, the number of white blood cells can rise during a pancreas attack so your doctor can gather a hunch about your pancreas through a routine CBC (Complete Blood Count) test which includes your white blood cell counts. If you are on Imuran and experience high white blood cell levels, it could be because you are still flaring, but it will also more likely than not prompt your doctor to further evaluate your pancreas via CT scans and other image scans to make sure the medication isn't causing any pancreas or liver damage.

Imuran is an immunosuppressor which means it lowers your white blood cell count which in turn can make you more susceptible to illness. So always check with your doctors before you do any immunizations/vaccinations while taking this medication.

As an adult you are going to have to learn to be your own advocate. So becoming more acquainted with your doctor and their thoughts on your condition is going to be very important. You should feel comfortable going to them and asking them questions such as the ones you just asked us here. An open dialogue about your symptoms and treatment plan is essential in making sure you are receiving the best care you possibly can for your Crohn's.
Crohn's-Colitis May 2012
Current Meds:
6-MP (100mg) / Asacol (4800mg)
Past Meds:
Prednisone/ Entocort / Flagyl
Current Supplements:
B12 Shot (1cc/mo) / Multivitamin / Vitamin D (1000iu) / Calcium (1200mg) / Omega 3 Fish Oil (4800mg)
Additional Info:
Anemia/Borderline Anemia - whole life
Generalized Anxiety Disorder - 2009 (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness meditation)

08-03-2013, 09:07 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: New Brunswick

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Here is what I get checked every 2 months (from my bloodwork request sheet):

CBC (Complete Blood Count)
Billirubin Total (Liver Function Test)
ALT (Liver Function Test)
ALK Phosphate (Liver Function Test)

Going to discuss getting an inflammation marker (ESR or CRP) checked on a regular basis at my next GI visit.

Diagnosed since 1990
Current Medications: None currently. Was on Imuran (150mg/day) and 5-ASA (3000 mg/day) as maintenance meds prior to surgery
Surgeries: Left hemicolectomy 2014.

Last edited by hawkeye; 08-03-2013 at 09:08 PM. Reason: spelling

Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Imuran/Azathioprine/6-MP » Routine Blood Test Results for Imuran?
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