Compare Imuran vs. cromolyn

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Prevents organ rejection and relieves joint pain and inflammation. Imuran (Azathioprine) is an effective medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and transplant rejection, but comes with a heavy list of side effects.Relieves nasal allergy symptoms. Intal (Cromolyn) is a good option to relieve nasal allergy symptoms when antihistamines aren't working. Good choice for pregnant women.
How it works
Imuran (Azathioprine) is an immunosuppressant medication. It blocks the production of the white blood cells that kill unfamiliar cells.Intal (Cromolyn) is a mast-cell stabilizer nasal spray that prevents and treats seasonal allergies.
Type of medication
Biological response modifier
Kidney transplant anti-rejection
Purine antimetabolite
Prescription only
Mast cell stabilizerPrescription or OTC
Available as
  • Pill
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
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Side effects

The Imuran FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Imuran side effects »

We haven’t found good data for cromolyn side effects.

FDA side effect reports for cromolyn »
Risk factors for serious side effects
        • Sexually active men and women
        • Pregnant women
        • Child-bearing women
        Detailed Imuran (Azathioprine) risks & warnings »
        Coming soon.
        Pregnancy category
        DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

        Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

        See the FDA package insert
        • Drinking alcohol is okay while taking Imuran (Azathioprine).
        No specific alcohol-related info.
        No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        • If you're sexually active, you and your partner should use birth control, since Imuran (Azathioprine) can cause birth defects.
        No specific sex-related info.
        No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        • Imuran (Azathioprine) has proven to be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
        • Imuran (Azathioprine) decreases the pain, stiffness, and swelling that most people have with rheumatoid arthritis.
        • You can still get vaccinated for the flu while taking Imuran (Azathioprine).
        • Drinking alcohol is okay while taking Imuran (Azathioprine).
        • Most side effects are temporary.
        • Treats nasal allergy symptoms.
        • Most people don't have many side effects since it works in the nose and doesn't affect the rest of your body.
        • It's a good option for pregnant women. Can also be used for kids 2 years and older.
        • Doesn't make you drowsy or dizzy.
        • No prescription is needed.
        Downsides and risks
        • If you take Imuran (Azathioprine) for rheumatoid arthritis, you'll likely need to take additional medications to control your symptoms.
        • While taking Imuran (Azathioprine), you will have to get your blood tested once a week for the first month, every other week for the second and third month, and once every month after that.
        • Along with other side effects, your hair may begin to change color or fall out when you first start taking Imuran (Azathioprine), but this is usually temporary.
        • You'll likely have to take additional medications, like methotrexate to keep your rheumatoid arthritis in remission.
        • Needs to be used regularly for at least a week to see any good effects.
        • Can have an unpleasant smell or taste.
        • Can cause headaches, or burning and stinging in your nose.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        • If you're sexually active, you and your partner should use birth control, since Imuran (Azathioprine) can cause birth defects.
        • If you take Imuran (Azathioprine) for rheumatoid arthritis, your joint damage can’t be reversed, so keep up with your physical therapy and get plenty of rest.
        • While taking Imuran (Azathioprine), your body is susceptible to infection; so be sure to wash your hands often and keep distance from with people who are sick.
        • It is typical to have some nausea when you first start taking Imuran (Azathioprine); if it's unbearable, let your doctor know.
        • Don't sun tan while taking this medication. Always use sunscreen and wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, hat, and sunglasses.
        • Works best when used one week before exposure to allergens. It takes about 1 to 2 weeks until you feel the full effects.
        • Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you know how to use this nose spray. Don't use more than recommended.
        • Shake the spray gently and clear your nose before each use.
        • Before using it for the first time, prime the spray pump until you see a fine mist.
        • Breathe in slowly as you're spraying. Wait a few minutes before blowing your nose if needed.
        Learn more
        More about ImuranSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about cromolynSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert