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Prevents organ rejection and relieves joint pain and inflammation.

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Our bottom line

Imuran (Azathioprine) is an effective medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and transplant rejection, but comes with a heavy list of side effects.

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Quick facts about Imuran
  • Drug class: Autoimmune
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (azathioprine)


  • 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.
Tried Imuran? Write a review!


  • 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.
How it works

Imuran (Azathioprine) is an immunosuppressant medication. It blocks the production of the white blood cells that kill unfamiliar cells.

Quick facts about Imuran
  • Drug class: Autoimmune
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (azathioprine)
Tried Imuran? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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Side effect rates for Imuran (Azathioprine)

  • Infections
  • Leukopenia <2500 cells/mm3
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Imuran.

Imuran (Azathioprine)

People taking Imuran felt side effect more

People taking Imuran felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Imuran (Azathioprine)

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  • Long-term use of Imuran (Azathioprine) has been reported to cause skin cancer, as well as lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph nodes, which protect our bodies from infection and toxins).

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Pharmacist Q&A

Imuran (Azathioprine) questions for

Frequently Asked Questions

This medication prevents rejection in renal homotransplantation.

Who is this drug for?

This medication prevents rejection in renal homotransplantation.

Common concerns from people taking Imuran (Azathioprine)

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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.

Tip: Always talk with your doctor before you take any medication while pregnant.
FDA pregnancy category for Imuran
DWeigh risks vs. benefits
  • Drinking alcohol is okay while taking Imuran (Azathioprine).
Kidneys and liver
  • Not worth it
    Big hassle
    Reviewed Imuranon 11/21/2015It attacked my liver and kidneys. I developed drug induced diabetes. Everything cleared up when I was switched to cellcept.
    A year or so
    Myasthenia gravis
  • Worth it
    Low hassle
    Reviewed Imuranon 12/7/2016Have used for 16 years. Blood tests are a pain to have to remember to do, but otherwise has treated my uc. I still have joint pain periodically though, especially if I try to run.
    Rheumatoid arthritis prevention