Chris Schach

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* Azathioprine is a thiopurine analogue drug typically used to prevent rejection in kidney transplants. However, it can also be used to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis with other avenues to treatment have not helped. Azathioprine is also prescribed to treat other autoimmune diseases like atopic dermatitis.

Azathioprine (Brand name: Azasan) is designed to help prevent rejection in kidney transplants, but it may also be used to treat autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and atopic dermatitis. For people who have acute dermatitis, treatment with Azathioprine is more cost-effective than therapy with Cyclosporine or Tacrolimus. It does not cure autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or atopic dermatitis, but it will help control the symptoms. It may also be helpful in treating Bullous pemphigoid, Pemphigus vulgaris, Cutaneous polyarteritis nodosa, Pyoderma gangrenosum, Severe Cutaneous Lupus erythematosus, and Cutaneous vasculitis.


Azathioprine is taken by mouth in tablet form. It is taken once or twice a day after meals. If you are taking Azathioprine to treat rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor may start you on a low dose and gradually increase your dose. It may take some time before the benefits of Azathioprine kick in.

Side Effects

Common side effects may include, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle aches. Rare but more serious side effects may include mouth sores, cough, lack of energy, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes, flu-like symptoms, rash, or blurred vision. If you experience one or more of the serious side effects, notify your doctor immediately.

Notes of Precaution

* Notify your doctor if you are allergic to Azathioprine or other medications.

* Before taking Azathioprine, notify your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

* Azathioprine may decrease your ability to fight infection, so it's important to be vigilant about your health. Avoid sick people and wash your hands frequently.

* If possible, do not use Azathioprine is you are also taking Neuromuscular blocking agents, Warfarin, D-penicillamine, Cotrimoxazole, Captopril, enalapril, lisinopril, Cimetidine, Indomethacin, Sulfasalazine and other benzoic acid derivatives, or live vaccines.

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