Azathioprine blood tests

I'm on hydroxychloroquine and azathioprine, and have to have monthly blood tests for the Aza. Trouble is, I've got rubbish veins and the nurse can usually only get blood from one particular place and it's becoming more and more painful because of the build up of scar tissue. She has recommended I check with my consultant if it would be safe to have less frequent tests, just to try and give a bit more time for the vein to heal before the next one! Just wondering if anyone else goes longer between blood tests, or whether it's going to be a flat 'No'!

5 Replies

  • Hi and sorry I have no answers as I am having the same problem.I asked if they could use a vein in my leg but told no so will follow your post with hope of answers for both of us.

    Have a good evening.

  • I too have rubbish veins and have been on Azathioprine for over 12 years. As far as I'm aware I've never had to go longer than I should between blood tests, apart from perhaps one or two days. From what I understand, nurses nowadays are trained, and only allowed, to take blood from certain veins, whereas older nurses/doctors (I'm guessing older than 40) were trained to use various veins. If the nurse at my Rheumatology clinic doesn't manage after a couple of attempts we usually send for the senior nurse, or on two occasions, for one of the consultants. On the one occasion there was no-one available one of the two senior nurses at my GP practice took the blood. Also, if I am due to have my blood tested at the GP practice and have a hospital appointment just before or just after, then I have agreed with my doctor that he will access the blood results from the hospital, so only have to have blood taken once. I used to absolutely dread having my blood taken, but am much more relaxed about it now. It does get easier to cope with as time goes on. Also, when an in-patient in hospital I now explain about my veins and ask if it is possible to have either a phlebotomist or senior member of staff to take my blood (not always possible but has been successful on many occasions). Hope this helps.

  • They also have great difficulty getting blood from me and my GP nurse uses a Blue needle to get it which is a lot easier. Unfortunately at the hospital they are only supposed to use blue ones for people having cancer treatment so I have to suffer.

  • Not sure about timing for your bloods, but I had to have mine done by a doctor as my veins are so bad. Had a locum when GP was on holiday and he said to tell anyone taking my blood to use a butterfly as I have so few suitable ones left. Maybe that would be an answer. I now go to the phlebotomist and she's able to get some with the butterfly. They are your veins, so stand up for them.

  • When I was on Aza briefly - my GP said I'd need weekly bloods to be done for a month and from then on, if all okay, it would be every three months. I was worried about this because when on methotrexate it used to be every month or even every two weeks if any change of dosage. He told me this is because Aza isn't cytotoxic in same way as MTX. In any event I suffered from pancreatitis after a few weeks of Aza so never got that far. My veins are dreadful too. My GP had to take mine and the rheumatology nurse struggled in new hospital I attend. No answers but IV antibiotics became impossible earlier this year because of phlebitis. I find it depends how much time the veins have to recover between tests, vents etc.

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