The oral LD 50 s for single doses of azathioprine in mice and rats are 2500 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg, respectively. Very large doses of this antimetabolite may lead to marrow hypoplasia, bleeding, infection, and death. About 30% of azathioprine is bound to serum proteins, but approximately 45% is removed during an 8-hour hemodialysis 14. A single case has been reported of a renal transplant patient who ingested a single dose of 7500 mg azathioprine. The immediate toxic reactions were nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, followed by mild leukopenia and mild abnormalities in liver function. The white blood cell count, SGOT, and bilirubin returned to normal 6 days after the overdose.
Renal Homotransplantation: The dose of azathioprine required to prevent rejection and minimize toxicity will vary with individual patients; this necessitates careful management. The initial dose is usually 3 to 5 mg/kg daily, beginning at the time of transplant. Azathioprine is usually given as a single daily dose on the day of, and in a minority of cases 1 to 3 days before, transplantation. Dose reduction to maintenance levels of 1 to 3 mg/kg daily is usually possible. The dose of azathioprine should not be increased to toxic levels because of threatened rejection. Discontinuation may be necessary for severe hematologic or other toxicity, even if rejection of the homograft may be a consequence of drug withdrawal.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Azathioprine is usually given on a daily basis. The initial dose should be approximately 1 mg/kg (50 to 100 mg) given as a single dose or on a twice-daily schedule. The dose may be increased, beginning at 6 to 8 weeks and thereafter by steps at 4-week intervals, if there are no serious toxicities and if initial response is unsatisfactory. Dose increments should be 0.5 mg/kg daily, up to a maximum dose of 2.5 mg/kg per day. Therapeutic response occurs after several weeks of treatment, usually 6 to 8; an adequate trial should be a minimum of 12 weeks. Patients not improved after 12 weeks can be considered refractory. Azathioprine may be continued long-term in patients with clinical response, but patients should be monitored carefully, and gradual dosage reduction should be attempted to reduce risk of toxicities.
Maintenance therapy should be at the lowest effective dose, and the dose given can be lowered decrementally with changes of 0.5 mg/kg or approximately 25 mg daily every 4 weeks while other therapy is kept constant. The optimum duration of maintenance azathioprine has not been determined. Azathioprine can be discontinued abruptly, but delayed effects are possible.
Patients with TPMT and/or NUDT15 Deficiency
Consider testing for TPMT and NUDT15 deficiency in patients who experience severe bone marrow toxicities. Early drug discontinuation may be considered in patients with abnormal CBC results that do not respond to dose reduction (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, WARNINGS: Cytopenias, and PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests).
Homozygous deficiency in either TPMT or NUDT15
Because of the risk of increased toxicity, consider alternative therapies for patients who are known to have TPMT or NUDT15 deficiency (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, WARNINGS: Cytopenias, and PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests).
Heterozygous deficiency in TPMT and/or NUDT15
Because of the risk of increased toxicity, dosage reduction is recommended in patients known to have heterozygous deficiency of TPMT or NUDT15. Patients who are heterozygous for both TPMT and NUDT15 deficiency may require more substantial dosage reductions (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, WARNINGS: Cytopenias, and PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests).
Use in Renal Dysfunction: Relatively oliguric patients, especially those with tubular necrosis in the immediate postcadaveric transplant period, may have delayed clearance of azathioprine or its metabolites, may be particularly sensitive to this drug, and are usually given lower doses.
Procedures for proper handling and disposal of this immunosuppressive antimetabolite drug should be considered. Several guidelines on this subject have been published 15 to 21. There is no general agreement that all of the procedures recommended in the guidelines are necessary or appropriate.
Azathioprine Tablets USP, 50 mg is supplied as yellow round tablet, scored on one side and product identification code “54 043” debossed on the other side.
Bottles of 30: NDC 72789-129-30
Store at 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. Dispense in a tight, light-resistant container as defined in the USP.
PROTECT FROM LIGHT. PROTECT FROM MOISTURE.
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- Data on file, Sebela Ireland Ltd.
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