What is a Patient Information Leaflet and why is it useful?

The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from this version because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged.

Below is a text only representation of the Patient Information Leaflet. The original leaflet can be viewed using the link above.

The text only version may be available in large print, Braille or audio CD. For further information call emc accessibility on 0800 198 5000. The product code(s) for this leaflet is: PL39699/0003.


Imuran Injection

Package Leaflet: Information for the User

Imuran® Injection

azathioprine

Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start using this medicine

  • Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
  • If you have any further questions, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
  • This medicine has been prescribed for you. Do not pass it on to others. It may harm them, even if their symptoms are the same as yours.
  • If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

In this leaflet:

1. What Imuran is and what it is used for
2. Before you have Imuran
3. How to have Imuran
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store Imuran
6. Further information

1 What Imuran is and what it is used for

Imuran injection contains a medicine called azathioprine. This belongs to a group of medicines called immunosuppressants. These medicines reduce the activity of your body's immune system.

Imuran is used to:

  • stop your body rejecting an organ transplant
  • treat diseases where your immune system reacts against your own body (called autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis).

Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you would like any further explanation about these uses.

2 Before you have Imuran

Do not have Imuran if:

  • you are allergic (hypersensitive) to azathioprine, mercaptopurine or any of the other ingredients of Imuran (listed in section 6).

If you are not sure, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before having Imuran.

Take special care with Imuran

Check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before having Imuran if:

  • you have liver or kidney disease
  • you have 'Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome'. This is a rare condition that runs in families caused by a lack of something called HPRT or 'hypoxanthine-guanine-phosphoribosyltransferase'
  • you have a condition where your body produces too little of something called TPMT or 'thiopurine methyltransferase'
  • you have ever suffered from chickenpox or shingles.

NUDT15-gene mutation

If you have an inherited mutation in the NUDT15-gene (a gene which is involved in the break-down of Imuran in the body), you have a higher risk of infections and hair loss and your doctor may in this case give you a lower dose.

If you are not sure if any of the above apply to you, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before having Imuran.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse before using Imuran

If you are receiving immunosuppressive therapy, taking Imuran could put you at greater risk of:

  • tumours, including skin cancer. Therefore, when taking Imuran, avoid excessive exposure to sunlight, wear protective clothing and use protective sunscreen with a high protection factor.
  • lymphoproliferative disorders
    • treatment with Imuran increases your risk of getting a type of cancer called lymphoproliferative disorder. With treatment regimen containing multiple immunosuppressants (including thiopurines), this may lead to death.
    • A combination of multiple immunosuppressants, given concomitantly increases the risk of disorders of the lymph system due to a viral infection (Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated lymphoproliferative disorders).

Taking Imuran could put you at greater risk of:

  • developing a serious condition called Macrophage Activation Syndrome (excessive activation of white blood cells associated with inflammation), which usually occurs in people who have certain types of arthritis

Taking other medicines

Please tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines. This includes medicines obtained without a prescription, including herbal medicines. This is because Imuran can affect the way some medicines work. Also some other medicines can affect the way Imuran works.

In particular, tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • allopurinol - used for gout
  • tubocurarine or succinylcholine - used during operations
  • warfarin - used for blood clots
  • penicillamine - used for rheumatoid arthritis
  • co-trimoxazole - used for infections
  • captopril - used for high blood pressure or heart problems
  • cimetidine - used for stomach ulcers and indigestion
  • indomethacin - used for pain and inflammation
  • furosemide - used for high blood pressure and heart problems
  • olsalazine or mesalazine - used for a bowel problem called ulcerative colitis
  • sulfasalzine or balsalazide - used for rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis.

If you are not sure if any of the above apply to you, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before having Imuran.

Having vaccines while you are using Imuran

If you are going to have a vaccination speak to your doctor or nurse before you have it. This is because vaccines may not work properly while you are having Imuran.

Tests you may have while having Imuran

Your doctor may ask you to have a blood test while you are having Imuran. This is to check your blood cell count. Your doctor may change your dose of Imuran after the test.

Trying for a baby, pregnancy and breast-feeding

  • Do not have Imuran if you are a man trying to have a baby. This is because it may affect the baby.
  • Do not have Imuran if you are a woman who is pregnant or think you might become pregnant. This is because it may affect the baby.
  • Do not have Imuran if you are breast-feeding. This is because small amounts may pass into the mother's milk.

Ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Imuran and the sun

While having Imuran you may be more likely to develop some types of cancers such as skin cancer. Some people also become sensitive to sunlight which can cause skin discolouration or a rash. Take care to avoid too much sun, cover up and use sunscreen.

Chickenpox/Shingles infection

Infection with chickenpox or shingles can become severe in patients taking immunosuppressive medicine. Therefore you should avoid contact with anyone suffering from chickenpox or shingles.

Important information about some of the ingredients of Imuran Injection

Imuran injection contains sodium. Each 50 mg vial contains 4.5 mg of sodium. If you are on a low sodium diet, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before you have Imuran.

3 How to take Imuran

The dose of Imuran you have depends on your illness and how bad it is. The dose also depends on your age, your weight and how well your liver and kidneys are working. Your doctor will explain this to you.

To stop your body rejecting an organ transplant

On the first day

  • the usual dose is up to 5 mg per kg of body weight.

For the rest of your treatment

  • you will have between 1 and 4 mg per kg of body weight each day.

For other conditions

At the start of your treatment

  • you will have 1 to 3 mg per kg of body weight each day
  • your doctor may reduce your dose later.

If you have more Imuran than you should

Your doctor will give you Imuran so it is unlikely that you will receive too much. If you think you have been given too much or have missed a dose, tell your doctor or nurse.

4 Possible side effects

Like all medicines, Imuran can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

The following side effects may happen with this medicine:

If you notice any of the following serious side effects, talk to your specialist doctor or go to hospital straight away:

  • allergic reaction, the signs may include:
    • general tiredness, dizziness, feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
    • high temperature (fever), shivering or chills
    • redness of the skin or a skin rash
    • pain in the muscles or joints
    • changes in the amount and colour of the urine (kidney problems)
    • dizziness, confusion, feeling light headed or weak, caused by low blood pressure
  • you bruise more easily or notice any unusual bleeding
  • you have a high temperature (fever) or other signs of an infection
  • you feel extremely tired
  • you notice lumps anywhere on your body
  • you notice any changes to your skin, for example blisters or peeling
  • your health suddenly gets worse
  • you come into contact with anyone who is suffering from chickenpox or shingles.

If you notice any of the above, stop having Imuran and see a doctor straight away.

Other side effects include:

Very common (affects more than 1 in 10 people)

  • infections caused by a virus, fungus or bacteria
  • reduction in your bone marrow function, which may make you feel unwell or show up in your blood tests
  • low white blood cell level in your blood tests, which may cause an infection.

Common (affects less than 1 in 10 people)

  • low blood platelet level, which may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Uncommon (affects less than 1 in 100 people)

  • low red blood cell level, which may cause you to be tired, get headaches, be short of breath when exercising, feel dizzy and look pale
  • inflammation of the pancreas, which may cause you severe upper stomach pain, with feeling sick (nausea) and being sick (vomiting)
  • liver problems, which may cause pale stools, dark urine, itchiness and yellowing of your skin and eyes.

Rare (affects less than 1 in 1,000 people)

  • problems with your blood and bone marrow which may cause weakness, tiredness, paleness, headaches, sore tongue, breathlessness, bruising or infections
  • problems with your bowel leading to diarrhoea, abdominal pain, constipation, feeling sick (nausea) and being sick (vomiting)
  • hair loss which may get better even though you continue to take Imuran
  • severe liver damage which can be life-threatening
  • various types of cancers including blood, lymph and skin cancers
  • sensitivity to sunlight which can cause skin discolouration or a rash.

Very rare (affects less than 1 in 10,000 people)

  • inflammation of your lungs causing breathlessness, cough and a fever.

If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any other side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

5 How to store Imuran

  • Do not store above 25°C.
  • Protect from light and keep dry.
  • Keep out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Do not use Imuran after the expiry date which is stated on the label. The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
  • Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medicines no longer required. These measures will help to protect the environment.

6 Further Information

What Imuran contains

  • The active substance is azathioprine.
    Each Imuran injection contains 50 mg of azathioprine.
  • The other ingredient is sodium hydroxide.
  • Before Imuran is injected it is diluted in sterile water.

What Imuran looks like and contents of the pack

  • Each pack contains one Imuran injection in a glass vial.

Marketing Authorisation Holder and Manufacturer

Aspen Pharma Trading Limited
3016 Lake Drive
Citywest Business Campus
Dublin 24
Ireland
Service-Tel: +800 00404142

Manufacturer:

GlaxoSmithKline Manufacturing S.p.A.
San Polo Di Torrile
Parma
Italy

PL 39699/0003

Leaflet date: March 2018

Imuran is a trademark of Aspen. All rights reserved.