Compare Imuran vs. Sulfasalazine

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Imuran
(Azathioprine)

Azulfidine
(Sulfasalazine)

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.Reduces inflammation. Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) is used for moderate to severe inflammatory bowel conditions, and with other meds for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
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Reviews & ratings
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Side effects
ImuranSulfasalazine

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 Sulfasalazine side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Sulfasalazine »
How it works
ImuranSulfasalazine
Imuran (Azathioprine) is an immunosuppressant medication. It blocks the production of the white blood cells that kill unfamiliar cells.Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) is an anti-inflammatory drug that reduces inflammation and pain. It treats inflammatory bowel diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.
Type of medication
ImuranSulfasalazine
Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Antirheumatic
Biological response modifier
Anti-rejection
Kidney transplant anti-rejection
Anticancer
Purine antimetabolite
Prescription only
Immunosuppressant
Immunomodulator
Antirheumatic
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Available as
ImuranSulfasalazine
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
ImuranSulfasalazine
Risk factors for serious side effects
ImuranSulfasalazine
        • Sexually active men and women
        • Pregnant women
        • Child-bearing women
        Detailed Imuran (Azathioprine) risks & warnings »
                Detailed Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) risks & warnings »
                Pregnancy category
                ImuranSulfasalazine
                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
                Alcohol
                • Drinking alcohol is okay while taking Imuran (Azathioprine).
                No specific alcohol-related info.
                Food
                No specific food-related info.
                • Swallow tablets whole, and take after a meal with a full glass of water.
                Kidneys and liver
                No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
                • Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) isn't a good option if you have kidney or liver disease.
                • Complete blood counts should be done before starting Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) and every other week during the first three months of treatment. Since kidney damage can occur, you'll need a urinalysis and an assessment of your kidney function periodically during treatment.
                • Severe hypersensitivity reactions can include internal organ involvement, such as hepatitis (liver), nephritis (kidney), myocarditis (heart), blood abnormalities, or pneumonitis (lungs).
                Sex
                • 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.
                Sleep
                No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
                Weight
                No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
                Upsides and benefits
                ImuranSulfasalazine
                • 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.
                • When taken consistently, Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) can control your symptoms of ulcerative colitis and other bowel diseases.
                • Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) is usually used in combination with other medications to control rheumatoid arthritis.
                Downsides and risks
                ImuranSulfasalazine
                • 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.
                • You need to have blood tests every 3 months when taking Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine).
                • Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) isn't a good option if you have kidney or liver disease.
                • Can't take Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) if you are allergic to aspirin or sulfa medications.
                • Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) shouldn't be used if you are breastfeeding.
                Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
                ImuranSulfasalazine
                • 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.
                • Don't use if you are allergic to sulfa drugs or aspirin.
                • Swallow tablets whole, and take after a meal with a full glass of water.
                • Drink at least six glasses of water daily while on this.
                • Continue to take Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) even once you feel better.
                • Read the information that come with your medication in the drugstore since there are many conditions you should be aware of before taking Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine).
                • Can cause an orange color in your urine or skin.
                Learn more
                More about ImuranSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
                More about SulfasalazineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert