Azathioprine Sodium

What is Azathioprine Sodium (Imuran)?

Azathioprine Sodium is a Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug (DMARD). Originally used to prevent organ transplant rejection, it was found to be beneficial in those with rheumatic diseases.

FDA approved:

March 1968

Brand Names and International Availability:

Azamedac (Germany); Azamun (New-Zealand, Taiwan); Azamune (England); Azanin (Japan); Azapress (South-Africa); Azathioprine (Israel); Azathioprine Sodium (US); Azatioprina (Peru); Azatrilem (Mexico); Azopi (Israel); Azoran (India); Immuthera (Korea); Imuprin (Benin, Burkina-Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory-Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra-Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe; Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, Netherland-Antilles, Surinam, Trinidad; Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Republic-of-Yemen, Saudi-Arabia, Syria, United-Arab-Emirates, Finland); Imuran (US); Imurek (Germany, Switzerland, Austria); Imurel (Denmark, France, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Finland); Thioprine (Australia, New-Zealand); Transimune (India)

How does it work?

Like many other DMARDS, it is not known exactly how Azathioprine Sodium works in rheumatic diseases. The benefit is thought to come from its immune suppressing action.


Azathioprine Sodium tablets are available in 50mg. Dose is based on a persons weight with the maximum dose being 2.5 mg per kg of weight per day.

How should I take it?

Take as ordered by your doctor. Stomach upset may be lessened by taking it with food or milk.


Use of this drug during pregnancy and nursing should be avoided.

Pregnancy should be avoided if either partner is receiving Azathioprine Sodium.

Drugs Interactions:

Allopurinol greatly increases the activity of Azathioprine Sodium.

Azathioprine Sodium may decrease the effect of certain blood thinning medications.

Because of the potent nature of this medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, including nonprescription medicines and vitamins.

Possible side effects:

These side effects are not considered serious but are certainly annoying for those experiencing them.

The most frequently reported side effects include fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite and hair loss. These side effects may decrease over time.

More serious side effects that you should report right away include pain or difficulty passing urine, unusual bleeding or bruising, swelling of the feet or legs, unusual or sudden weight gain, yellowing of the eyes or skin, and black stools.

Azathioprine Sodium has the potential to cause certain blood abnormalities.

Azathioprine Sodium may increase the risk for certain cancers, when used long term.

Precautions & Special Notes:

You will be required to have frequent blood work while on this medication. It is very important that you keep all lab and doctors appointments.

Never stop the medication unless instructed by your physician.

Azathioprine Sodium suppresses the immune system. Avoid exposure to illnesses and viruses when possible.

For more information:

RxList: Azathioprine
Pharm Info Net Azathioprine


Mosby’s GenRx, 10
th ed. Copyright � 2000 Mosby, Inc.

Complete Guide to Prescription and Nonprescription Drugs, H. Winter Griffith, M.D. , Copyright � 1997