What Is Azathioprine Used For?

How Does It Work?

It is not known exactly how azathioprine works to prevent kidney transplant rejection or to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The medication acts in a way similar to certain types of chemotherapy medications, killing cells by damaging DNA. Also, much like chemotherapy medications, azathioprine suppresses the immune system (it is thought to work mostly by suppressing the immune system). The immune system is responsible for rejecting transplanted organs, and an overactive immune system plays an important role in rheumatoid arthritis.
 

Using Azathioprine in Children

Azathioprine has not been approved for use in children. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug in children.
 

Is Azathioprine Used for Off-Label Reasons?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend azathioprine for something other than the conditions it was approved to treat. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, off-label azathioprine uses include treating:
 
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