Compare cyclosporine vs. Imuran

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


Neoral (cyclosporine)

Prescription only

Imuran (Azathioprine)

Prescription only
Suppresses the immune system.

Neoral (cyclosporine) is good at preventing rejection of a transplanted organ, and is also used for treating rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

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.

  • Neoral (cyclosporine) is safe for pregnant women to use.
  • Neoral (cyclosporine) does not affect blood sugar levels as much as others in the same drug class.
  • 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.
  • You'll need regular blood tests to make sure Neoral (cyclosporine) isn't affecting your body negatively.
  • Neoral (cyclosporine) can cause high blood pressure and kidney damage, especially with lifelong use.
  • You might need to take other medications to control your blood pressure while on Neoral (cyclosporine).
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
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Side effects
17possible side effects
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal kidney function
  • Tremor
  • Abnormal hair growth
  • Acne
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Liver damage
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Low white blood cells
  • Blood cell tumor
  • Gum swelling
  • Uncontrolled shaking
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling of breasts
  • Common cold symptoms
  • Burning or tingling in hands, arms, legs, or feet
See more detailed side effects
2possible side effects
  • Infections
  • Leukopenia <2500 cells/mm3
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Risks and risk factors
  • Cancer
    • Taking Neoral (cyclosporine) for a long time
    • Prolonged exposure to sunlight
    • UV light
  • Serious infections
    • Taking other immunosuppressants
    • Age 60 or older
    • Weak immune system
  • High blood pressure
    • High blood pressure
    • Taking other medicines that can raise blood pressure
  • Kidney damage
    • Taking Neoral (cyclosporine) for a long time
    • Taking high doses of Neoral (cyclosporine)
    • Poor kidney function
    • Donor age 50 or older
    • Taking other medicines that can damage the kidneys
    • Taking medicines that interact with Neoral (cyclosporine)
  • Drug interactions
    • Taking multiple medicines
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  • Cancer
  • Decreased blood cells
  • Increased risk for infection
  • Harm to fetus
    • Sexually active men and women
    • Pregnant women
    • Child-bearing women
See more detailed risks and warnings