Azathioprine is a prescription medication used in dogs and cats for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Azathioprine is not FDA approved for use in veterinary medicine; however, it is a commonly accepted practice for veterinarians to prescribe this medication for dogs and cats. Azathioprine requires a prescription from your veterinarian, and is sold per tablet.
For: Dogs and Cats
Treats autoimmune diseases including those involving the skin, blood, or multiple body systems
Easy to administer tablet
How it works:
Azathioprine is used to suppress cells involved in autoimmune diseases. Examples of these diseases include Hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, arthritis, skin diseases, chronic liver inflammation, certain kidney diseases, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Do not give this medication to breeding or pregnant pets.
Brand Name Imuran (Prometheus)
Generic Name Azathioprine
What is the most important information I should know about azathioprine: Azathioprine is a prescription medication not FDA approved for veterinary use; however, it is a commonly accepted practice for veterinarians to use this medication in dogs and cats. Azathioprine is available as 50mg tablets. The usual dose of azathioprine can vary and is dependent on the type of condition being treated.
What is azathioprine: Azathioprine is an immunosuppressive used for treating a variety of autoimmune diseases. In dogs azathioprine can be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, immune mediated anemia, colitis, immune mediated skin disease, certain types of kidney disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. In cats, azathioprine is sometimes used with extreme caution in cats to treat autoimmune skin diseases. Azathioprine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this guide.
What should I discuss with my veterinarian before giving azathioprine to my pet: Tell your veterinarian if your pet has liver or pancreatic disease. Tell your veterinarian if your pet is breeding or pregnant.
How should this medication be given: Give this medication exactly as directed by your veterinarian. If you do not understand the directions ask the pharmacist or veterinarian to explain them to you. Azathioprine may be given with food or without food. Do not abruptly stop giving azathioprine. Azathioprine needs to be tapered off over several months according to your veterinarian's directions. Store azathioprine at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep this medication away from children and pets.
What happens if I miss giving a dose: Give the missed dose as soon as you remember during the same day. However, if you don't remember until the next day, skip the dose you missed and give only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not give a double dose of the medication.
What happens if I overdose the pet: Seek emergency veterinary medical treatment. Symptoms of azathioprine overdose include bleeding, bruising, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
What should I avoid while giving Azathioprine to my pet:
Azathioprine can be absorbed through the skin. Pet owners should wear gloves when giving this medication and wash hands afterwards. Pregnant pet owners should not handle this medication unless wearing rubber gloves.
Azathioprine should not be used in animals allergic to it. Use azathioprine with caution in animals with liver or pancreatic disease. Do not use in breeding or pregnant animals. Azathioprine suppresses the pet's immune system making the pet more susceptible to infections.
What are the possible side effects of Azathioprine: Side effects that can occur are related to suppression of bone marrow and can include; anemia, pale gums, weakness, lethargy, bruising or bleeding tendencies, decreased white blood cell counts, increased risk of infection. Signs of infection may include; abnormal breathing, fever, depression, lameness, change in urination, diarrhea. Other side effects that can occur include vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, pancreatitis, jaundice. Talk to your veterinarian about any side effect that seems unusual or bothersome to the animal.
What other drugs will affect Azathioprine: Tell your veterinarian if your pet is being given ACE inhibitors (benazapril, enalapril, lisinopril), Allopurinol, Sulfasalazine, SMZ/TMP, and warfarin. Drugs other than those listed may also interact with azathioprine. Talk to your veterinarian or pharmacist before giving any prescription or over the counter medicines including vitamins, and supplements.
Where can I get more information: Your pharmacist has additional information about Azathioprine written for health professionals that you may read.
Call your veterinarian for medical advice about any side effects to your pet. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tip: Azathioprine can be given with or without food.
Varies dependent on condition treated.
Varies dependent on condition treated.
Storage: Should be stored at room temperature, away from moisture and light.
This information sheet is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, allergic reactions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for your pet. It is not a substitute for a veterinary exam, and it does not replace the need for services provided by your veterinarian. Note: Any trademarks are the property of their respective companies.