Compare Imuran vs. Rapamune

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


Imuran (Azathioprine)

Prescription only

Rapamune (sirolimus)

Prescription only
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.

Prevents rejection of a transplanted organ.

Rapamune (sirolimus) is a reliable medicine that prevents rejection of an organ transplant but requires consistent monitoring.

  • 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.
  • Rapamune (sirolimus) is good at preventing organ rejection.
  • Causes less harm to the kidneys with long-term use than similar medicines.
  • Fewer effects on blood sugar and blood pressure compared to other immunosuppressants.
  • Conveniently taken once daily.
  • 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’ll need regular blood tests while taking Rapamune (sirolimus), especially when you first start the medicine.
  • Can cause high lipids (fats like cholesterol and triglycerides), especially with lifelong use. You might need to take other medicines to control your lipids while on Rapamune (sirolimus).
  • Raises your risk of infection and certain cancers.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
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Side effects
2possible side effects
  • Infections
  • Leukopenia <2500 cells/mm3
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17possible side effects
  • Swelling in arms and legs
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Higher blood creatinine (marker of poorer kidney function)
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Low red blood cells
  • Acne
  • Low white blood cells
  • Rash
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Risks and risk factors
  • Cancer
  • Decreased blood cells
  • Increased risk for infection
  • Harm to fetus
    • Sexually active men and women
    • Pregnant women
    • Child-bearing women
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  • Health problems in people with liver and lung transplants
  • Cancer
    • Taking Rapamune (sirolimus) for a long time
    • Long exposure to sunlight
    • UV light
  • Serious infections
    • Taking other immunosuppressants
    • Age 60 or older
    • Weak immune system
  • High blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides)
    • History of high cholesterol
    • History of high triglycerides
  • Drug interactions
    • Taking multiple medicines
See more detailed risks and warnings