The Function of Azathioprine in Arthritis Patients

One of the disease modifying medications that are used for arthritis patients is Azathioprine. It is an anti rheumatic drug that falls under the DMARD category. When patients take this drug it dampens the progress of the condition. Rather than concentrating on the management of the symptoms, this medication goes to the heart of the problem by targeting the underlying condition. It acts by reducing the functionality of the immune system. This is a dangerous course of action and therefore you need the approval of your doctor. If the immune system is diminished significantly then the patient may become ill due to opportunistic diseases.

Using Azathioprine to treat arthritis

The medication will be prescribed for different types of rheumatic disease such as arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE. If a patient is already on steroid treatment, Azathioprine might be included in the treatment program in order to start the process of taking out the steroids. In arthritis patients the medication is taken in the form of one tablet twice a day. The dosage could be reduced or increased according to the medical needs of the patients. This is a clinical judgment that must not be based on speculation alone. The doctor has to examine the patient and come to a conclusion as to where they are going to take the medication. It is advisable to take the tablet after a meal.

This is not fast acting medication unless the patient is experiencing the placebo effect. However between six and twelve weeks, the first signs of the improvement will be seen. In terms of side effects, some patients have experiences nausea as well as actual vomiting. They may develop diarrhea or skin rashes. The loss of hair and an appetite can be very devastating for the patient. It can affect the level and lead to other opportunistic infections that can greatly reduce the quality of life that the patient leads in the long run. Clinical intervention may be required where the patient develops fever, a sore throat, bleeding, jaundice and bruising.  If patients develop shingles or chicken pox, then they should stop the medication immediately.

Care when taking Azathioprine

This sort of medication is capable of compromising your immune system. Therefore it is important that patients consult with their doctor before taking Azathioprine. There have been studies that link Azathioprine to certain forms of cancer. Therefore you have to be very careful when taking this sort of medication. Patients that are already suffering from immune deficiencies should not use Azathioprine or they could end up on the emergency table. This type of medication is only used as a temporary form of intervention. You cannot spend the rest of your life on Azathioprine. That is why doctors are very strict about the people that receive this form of treatment. It is important that all prescriptions are strictly controlled. You also need to work out methods through which you can find complementary medicine. This might be the thing that is required to keep your body in good shape.