What Is Azathioprine Used For?

Azathioprine uses are primarily concerned with preventing organ rejection after a kidney transplant and treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be used in an "off-label" fashion to treat several conditions, such as Crohn's disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ulcerative colitis. Azathioprine is used for adults only and has not been approved for use in children.

An Overview of Azathioprine Uses

Azathioprine (Imuran®) is a prescription medication that is approved to:
  • Be used along with other medications to prevent organ rejection after a kidney transplant
  • Reduce the signs and symptoms of active rheumatoid arthritis.

Using Azathioprine for Kidney Transplants

Kidney transplantation is the process of removing a kidney from an organ donor and surgically transplanting it into a person who has kidney failure. The procedure can allow people to be free from the time-consuming process of dialysis. However, the body's immune system can "reject" the kidney. The immune system recognizes the kidney as being foreign and attacks it. In order to prevent this from happening, medications must be taken indefinitely to suppress the immune system.
Azathioprine is used in combination with other immune-suppressing medications to prevent rejection of a transplanted kidney.

Azathioprine Uses for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that, for some reason, the immune system mistakes a person's own cells as invaders and attacks them, causing damage. Similar to other autoimmune diseases, scientists still do not know the cause or causes of rheumatoid arthritis.
There are many rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, including chronic pain, along with tender, warm, and swollen joints. Azathioprine is approved to treat the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in addition to preventing future joint damage. It can be used alone or in combination with other rheumatoid arthritis medications.
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Azathioprine (Imuran) Information

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