Home > Drugs A – Z > Azathioprine

Azathioprine

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

By mouth

Azathioprine is used to prevent rejection of a transplanted kidney. It belongs to the group of medicines known as immunosuppressive agents. Azathioprine… Read more

Brand names include: Azasan, Imuran

By injection

Azathioprine injection is used to prevent rejection of a transplanted kidney. It belongs to the group of medicines known as immunosuppressive agents… Read more

Brand names include: Imuran

Drug classes About this
Antirheumatic, Cytotoxic, Gastrointestinal Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Azathioprine as an oral corticosteroid sparing agent for asthma

Asthma can be treated with drugs that aim to reduce inflammation in the airways. Inhaled corticosteroids are frequently used, but occasionally individuals require oral steroids for adequate control. However, oral steroids are frequently associated with severe side‐effects. Azathioprine has been suggested as a useful 'add‐on' therapy to oral steroid treatment with the aim of reducing the dose requirement in such cases of severe asthma. The review found two small studies which did not provide adequate evidence as to whether azathioprine could be offered to reduce oral steroid treatment. There is a need for well‐designed trials addressing this question before recommendations can be made.

There is no evidence to support azathioprine for patients with primary biliary cirrhosis

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic disease of the liver that is characterised by destruction of bile ducts. Estimates of annual incidence range from 2 to 24 patients per million population, and estimates of prevalence range from 19 to 240 patients per million population. PBC primarily affects middle‐aged women. The forecast for the symptomatic patient after diagnosis is between 10 and 15 years. The cause of PBC is unknown, but the dynamics of the disease resemble the group 'autoimmune disease'. Therefore, one might expect a noticeable effect of administering an immune repressing drug (immunosuppressant). This review evaluates all clinical data on the immunosuppressant azathioprine in relation to PBC.

Azathioprine for treating rheumatoid arthritis

Azathioprine is a drug that suppresses the immune system. This review includes three trials with a total of 81 patients. Forty patients were given azathioprine and forty‐one were given placebo. Patients taking azathioprine had lower tender joint scores when compared to patients taking placebo. Significantly more patients in the azathioprine group withdrew from the studies due to adverse reactions compared to patients in the placebo group.

See all (190)

Summaries for consumers

Azathioprine as an oral corticosteroid sparing agent for asthma

Asthma can be treated with drugs that aim to reduce inflammation in the airways. Inhaled corticosteroids are frequently used, but occasionally individuals require oral steroids for adequate control. However, oral steroids are frequently associated with severe side‐effects. Azathioprine has been suggested as a useful 'add‐on' therapy to oral steroid treatment with the aim of reducing the dose requirement in such cases of severe asthma. The review found two small studies which did not provide adequate evidence as to whether azathioprine could be offered to reduce oral steroid treatment. There is a need for well‐designed trials addressing this question before recommendations can be made.

There is no evidence to support azathioprine for patients with primary biliary cirrhosis

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic disease of the liver that is characterised by destruction of bile ducts. Estimates of annual incidence range from 2 to 24 patients per million population, and estimates of prevalence range from 19 to 240 patients per million population. PBC primarily affects middle‐aged women. The forecast for the symptomatic patient after diagnosis is between 10 and 15 years. The cause of PBC is unknown, but the dynamics of the disease resemble the group 'autoimmune disease'. Therefore, one might expect a noticeable effect of administering an immune repressing drug (immunosuppressant). This review evaluates all clinical data on the immunosuppressant azathioprine in relation to PBC.

Azathioprine for treating rheumatoid arthritis

Azathioprine is a drug that suppresses the immune system. This review includes three trials with a total of 81 patients. Forty patients were given azathioprine and forty‐one were given placebo. Patients taking azathioprine had lower tender joint scores when compared to patients taking placebo. Significantly more patients in the azathioprine group withdrew from the studies due to adverse reactions compared to patients in the placebo group.

See all (63)

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...