Compare Sandimmune vs. Imuran

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


Sandimmune (cyclosporine)

Prescription only

Imuran (Azathioprine)

Prescription only
Suppresses the immune system.

Sandimmune (cyclosporine) is good at preventing rejection of an organ transplant, but it's more difficult to monitor than Neoral/Gengraf (cyclosporine modified) and isn't good for people with kidney problems.

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.

  • Sandimmune (cyclosporine) is good at preventing organ rejection.
  • Can take Sandimmune (cyclosporine) if you’re pregnant.
  • Less effect on blood sugar than other medicines in its class like tacrolimus.
  • Conveniently taken once daily.
  • 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, especially in the beginning, to make sure Sandimmune (cyclosporine) isn't affecting your body in a bad way.
  • Can cause high blood pressure and kidney damage, especially with lifelong use.
  • You might need to take other medicines to control your blood pressure while on Sandimmune (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
  • 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
  • Acne
  • 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 Sandimmune (cyclosporine) for a long time
    • Prolonged exposure to sunlight
    • UV light
  • Hard-to-predict absorption
  • Kidney damage
    • Taking Sandimmune (cyclosporine) for a long time
    • Taking high doses of Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
    • Poor kidney function
    • Donor age 50 or older
    • Taking other medicines that can damage the kidneys
    • Taking medicines that interact with Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
  • 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
  • Drug interactions
    • Taking multiple medicines
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • 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