Azathioprine (Imuran)

Azathioprine is a medication that suppresses the immune system. It is a Disease-Modifying AntiRheumatic Drug (DMARD) and belongs to a class of chemicals called purine analogues.

Azathioprine has been in use since the 1950s. It was originally developed to treat certain forms of cancer but has proven useful in treating numerous autoimmune disorders, as well as preventing organ rejection in transplant patients.

Rheumatologists use Azathioprine to treat (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), as well as other types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

Taking Azathioprine

Azathioprine is available in 50 mg oral tablets.

Taking Azathioprine with food can help reduce possible stomach upset.

It takes 6 to 12 weeks for Azathioprine to start working. The maximum effect can take up to 6 months.

If a doctor changes the dose, it can take another 8 to 12 weeks to feel the effects. It is important for people starting this medicine to be patient and continue taking it as prescribed.

Important Tests and Risks




Watch Dr. Andy Thompson, a Canadian rheumatologist, introduce Azathioprine in this short video:


Azathioprine Quick Reference Guide