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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Azathioprine

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What is azathioprine and why is it prescribed?

Azathioprine (trade name Imuran) is a type of drug known as a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). It dampens down the disease process. Read more >

How do I take azathioprine and how long does it take to work?

Azathioprine is usually given as tablets, taken once or twice daily. The dose depends on your weight but usually starts at 50 mg. It may take 6–12 weeks before it starts to work. Read more >

What are the possible risks and side-effects of azathioprine?

Azathioprine can cause nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, hair loss and skin rashes. It can also make you more likely to develop infections. It can affect the liver or blood so you need to have regular blood tests while you’re taking it.

You should stop azathioprine and see your doctor immediately if you develop severe symptoms of infection, if you haven’t had chickenpox and you come into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles or if you develop chickenpox or shingles.

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Can azathioprine affect other medications and treatments?

You may be prescribed azathioprine along with other drugs. You should discuss any new medications with your doctor and always tell any other doctor treating you that you’re on azathioprine. Read more >

Can I drink alcohol if I'm on azathioprine?

You should only drink alcohol and azathioprine in small amounts, because alcohol and azathioprine can both affect your liver.


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Can azathioprine affect fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Current guidelines state that azathioprine can be taken during pregnancy. If you're on azathioprine and you want to start a family, or become pregnant unexpectedly, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

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