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Dermatol Ther. 2007 Jul-Aug;20(4):206-15.

Azathioprine: a guide for the management of dermatology patients.

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  • 1University of Louisville, School of Medicine, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.


Azathioprine, a prodrug of 6-mercaptopurine, was developed over four decades ago. Since its development, azathioprine has been shown to have antileukemic, anti-inflammatory, and immunosuppressive properties. Hence, the reason azathioprine is used in multiple medical specialties. In the dermatology field, it is used as an immunosuppressant and corticosteroid-sparing agent for the treatment of several cutaneous diseases. In this article, the present authors review the following aspects relating to azathioprine: history, pharmacokinetics, significance of thiopurine methyltransferase, side effects, contraindications, therapeutic uses, and recommended evaluation and monitoring for patients initiating azathioprine.

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