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Medications > Azathioprine (Imuran) > Azathioprine (Imuran) – pictopamphlet

AZATHIOPRINE (Imuran) [Aye-za-TH-EYE-oh-prin]

How to use this medication

What is it

Azathioprine is a medication used to treat rheumatic diseases like lupus. While taking this medicine it is important to have your blood tests done and see your doctor on a regular basis.

Take it every day

The normal dose of azathioprine is between 50 and 200 mg per day. The dose is based on your weight. Azathioprine is available as 50 mg tablets.

Be patient

It will take 6 to 12 weeks for the azathioprine to work. It is important for you to keep taking the medicine.

What you need to do

Watch how much alcohol you drink

Drinking alcohol while taking azathioprine can harm your liver. It is best to limit or avoid alcohol all together.

Stop if you have an infection

Azathioprine can make it harder for you to fight infections. It is best to stop taking it if you have a fever or think you have an infection. Phone your doctor for advice.

Get regular blood tests

Have your blood tested REGULARLY. This is important to make sure azathioprine isn’t affecting your liver or blood counts.

Drug interactions

You must not take a medicine for gout called ALLOPURINOL while taking azathioprine.

Side effects & important things to know

Nausea & feeling unwell

Some people can feel sick to their stomach or develop diarrhea when they take azathioprine. Please let your doctor know if this happens.


Azathioprine can rarely cause a rash. Let your doctor know if you develop a rash while taking azathioprine.

Hair loss

Azathioprine can rarely cause thinning of the hair. Let your doctor know if this becomes a problem.


Azathioprine is not normally taken during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or are planning to become pregnant please let your doctor know.


When used for long periods of time, azathioprine may be associated with a small increased risk of skin or blood cancers.

When should I call my doctor

Please call if you need to stop

  • If you feel sick and want to stop
  • If you are concerned about any side effects
  • If you want to or have already stopped the medicine

Other Reasons to Call your Doctor:

Nausea or Diarrhea

Fever or think you have an infection


Stomach pain or notice yellowing of the skin

If you are having surgery

Other important information

Stopping Azathioprine

You can simply stop taking azathioprine. You do not need to wean off it.