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AZASAN® (azathioprine) is indicated as an adjunct for the prevention of rejection in renal homotransplantation. It is also indicated for the management of active rheumatoid arthritis to reduce signs and symptoms.
AZASAN® (azathioprine) is indicated as an adjunct for the prevention of rejection in renal homotransplantation. Experience with over 16,000 transplants shows a 5-year patient survival of 35% to 55%, but this is dependent on donor, match for HLA antigens, anti-donor or anti B-cell alloantigen antibody, and other variables. The effect of azathioprine on these variables has not been tested in controlled trials.
AZASAN® (azathioprine) is indicated for the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to reduce signs and symptoms. Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or low dose glucocorticoids may be continued during treatment with AZASAN®. The combined use of azathioprine with disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) has not been studied for either added benefit or unexpected adverse effects. The use of AZASAN® (azathioprine) with these agents cannot be recommended.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
TPMT TESTING CANNOT SUBSTITUTE FOR COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT (CBC) MONITORING INPATIENTS RECEIVING AZASAN® (azathioprine) . TPMT genotyping or phenotyping can be used to identify patients with absent or reduced TPMT activity. Patients with low or absent TPMT activity are at an increased risk of developing severe, lifethreatening myelotoxicity from AZASAN® (azathioprine) if conventional doses are given. Physicians may consider alternative therapies for patients who have low or absent TPMT activity (homozygous for non-functional alleles). AZASAN® (azathioprine) should be administered with caution to patients having one non-functional allele (heterozygous) who are at risk for reduced TPMT activity that may lead to toxicity if conventional doses are given. Dosage reduction is recommended in patients with reduced TPMT activity. Early drug discontinuation may be considered in patients with abnormal CBC results that do not respond to dose reduction.
The dose of AZASAN® (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. AZASAN® (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. AZASAN® (azathioprine) is often initiated with the intravenous administration of the sodium salt, with subsequent use of tablets (at the same dose level) after the postoperative period. Intravenous administration of the sodium salt is indicated only in patients unable to tolerate oral medications. Dose reduction to maintenance levels of 1 to 3 mg/kg daily is usually possible. The dose of AZASAN® (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.
AZASAN® (azathioprine) is usually given on a daily basis. The initial dose should be approximately 1.0 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/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. AZASAN® (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 AZASAN® (azathioprine) has not been determined. AZASAN® (azathioprine) can be discontinued abruptly, but delayed effects are possible.
Use in Renal Dysfunction
Relatively oliguric patients, especially those with tubular necrosis in the immediate post-cadaveric transplant period, may have delayed clearance of AZASAN® (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.25-31 There is no general agreement that all of the procedures recommended in the guidelines are necessary or appropriate.
AZASAN® (azathioprine) Tablets, USP are available in:
75 mg, triangle-shaped, yellow, scored tablets,
100 count bottles (NDC 65649-231-41)
15 count samples (NDC 65649-231-51)
100 mg, diamond-shaped, yellow, scored tablets,
100 count bottles (NDC 65649-241-41)
15 count samples (NDC 65649-241-51)
Store at 20° to 25°C (68° to 77° F) [See USP Controlled Room Temperature]
Store in a dry place and protect from light.
Dispense in a tight, light-resistant container as defined in the USP.
25. Recommendations for the safe handling of parenteral antineoplastic drugs. Washington, DC: Division of Safety; Clinical Center Pharmacy Department and Cancer Nursing Services, National Institute of Health; 1992. US Dept of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service Publication NIH 92-2621.
26. AMA Council on Scientific Affairs. Guidelines for handling parenteral antineoplastics. JAMA. 1985; 253:1590-1592.
27. National Study Commission on Cytotoxic Exposure. Recommendations for handling cytotoxic agents. 1987. Available from Louis P. Jeffrey, Chairman, National Study Commission on Cytotoxic Exposure. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, 179 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
28. Clinical Oncological Society of Australia. Guidelines and recommendations for safe handling of antineoplastic agents. Med J Aust. 1983; 1:426-428.
29. Jones RB, Frank R, Mass T. Safe handling of chemotherapeutic agents: a report from The Mount Sinai Medical Center. CA Cancer J for Clinicians. 1983; 33:258-263.
30. American Society of Hospital Pharmacists. ASHP technical assistance bulletin on handling cytotoxic and hazardous drugs. Am J Hosp Pharm. 1990; 47:1033-1049.
31. Yodaiken RE, Bennett D. OSHA Work-Practice guidelines for personnel dealing with cytotoxic (antineoplastic) drugs. Am J Hosp Pharm, 1996; 43:1193-1204.
Manufactured by: AAIPharma Inc., Wilmington, NC 28405. Manufactured for: Morrisville, NC 27560.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/14/2009
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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