Azathioprine Reviews

Have you taken Azathioprine to treat your colitis?

A common brand name for this medication is “Imuran® or Azasan®”

If you’re answer is “yes”, please click the review button below and add your review of your experience. There’s alot of UC’ers who are wondering how other’s like you have done with the medication.

Here is an informational page from the National Institute of Health – azathioprine page

Copied from wikipedia:

Azathioprine (INN, /ˌæzəˈθaɪɵpriːn/, abbreviated AZA) is an immunosuppressive drug used in organ transplantation and autoimmune diseases and belongs to the chemical class of purine analogues.[1] Synthesized originally as a cancer drug and a prodrug for mercaptopurine in 1957, it has been widely used as an immunosuppressant for more than 50 years.

A few stories from writers on the site who have used azathioprine (also called Imuran):

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 59 reviews
by Michael Horn on Azathioprine
Aza treatment, it didn’t work for me!

I tried Aza in 2017 after Balsalazide stopped working for me. After about 3 days I started to feel awful - lethargic, nauseous and sick. I continued to take it for about a week, and these side effects didn’t dissipate. My bloods showed that my liver enzymes had skyrocketed, so I had to come off the drug immediately.

I’m now taking Humira. However, I’m starting to build up antibodies to Adalimumab, so once again I was prescribed Azathioprine, but this time on a much reduced dose. Unfortunately, after around a week I started to notice similar symptoms as before. My ALT level had increased dramatically, so again I was taken off the drug.

by David on Azathioprine

Diagnosed in 2004. Asacol and sulfasalazine since. Short courses of prednisone for flares. I have a mild case of UC. Had a bad flare in 2017 that was probably partly due to work stress, couldn't get rid of it. That was new for me. Usually prednisone and enemas got rid of flares. Not this time. 60 mg of prednisone for 3 months plus enemas didn't work. I lost 18 lbs and was skinny to begin with. GI doc put me on Imuran 100 mg daily. Was still taking asacol and sulfa (still am). Flare went away quickly, but that may not have had anything to do with the Imuran based on how long it takes to start working. I think it was more that I took a month off work that started the healing. Been on for 2 years with no major side effects that I can directly attribute to the drug. 2 months after starting Imuran, my knees went bad. I never had any issues with my knees before. They are still not good. GI doc said he didn't think Imuran was to blame. I still wonder. I do think my hair is thinner now. It was thinning before, so it is hard to tell how much happened since starting Imuran. I will have lab work done today to check my levels. Imuran also keeps my eczema in check. I am so much happier now that eczema isn't an issue. I always said I would get rid of my eczema before I got rid of my UC since my UC is a mild case. I haven't seen any posts that talk about Imuran helping their eczema, but it does for me.

by Kim Friberg on Azathioprine

I was not able to use Immuran due to my immediate pancreatic pain.

by Nicole on Azathioprine
not the best

Recently weaned off it after taking it for two years and feel tremendously better in every way. Not a good drug.

by El Herr on Azathioprine

I have been on Imuran for 8 years. I was skeptical at first because of the possible side effects and did not go into remission until I added Remicade. I did try to get off Imuran a few years ago but within a month I was having severe symptoms again. I have to be evaluated for TB, low white blood count and skin cancer but, so far, so good.

by Rex Gass on Azathioprine
Azathioprine (Imuran) is a wicked drug

I was given azathioprine for the treatment of a UC flare-up back in 2005. I know it is labeled as an "immuno-modulator" however, I regard it to be a "chemical immuno-suppressant". While taking azathioprine for just over 13 years, I very well know what the drug did to me. On the positive, it did help (along with big doses of steroids) to calm down my colon bleeding from my 2005 flare-up. I also believe it did help stretch out the time between flares. When I had a major flare up on December 23rd, 2013, my Gastro Doc put me on Humira Biologic Immuno-Suppressant with the azathioprine and more steroids. On the downside of the combo of these drugs, it seems I could catch as cold by just looking at someone with a cold. Also, it seems I would catch a stomach bug just by being in the same room as someone with a stomach bug. When Humira gave me heart failure after only 8 months of use (= August 2014), my gastro doc changed me to SimponI biologic immuno-suppressant injections. In early April 2018, I came down with a severe sinus infection. AND, the sinus infection was quite contagious. After almost 4 months of taking large doses of antibiotics and up to 30 mg of steroids a day for the sinus infection, I went to my gastro Doc and demanded he take me off Azathioprine AND Simponi Biologic Injection. I couldn't beat the incredible sinus infection. Once off azathioprine and Simponi and after 40 days of huge doses of antibiotics, the sinus infection cleared up enough for my ENT Doc to do sinus surgery to suck out the remaining infection. I am now on Entyvio IV infusion. During the 13 years of taking Azathioprine, I had 8 teeth die and fall apart. These 8 teeth were all my chewing molars on my upper row of teeth. It has taken 9 months for me to get through the azathioprine withdrawals.

by Paul S on Azathioprine
Worked Well

I am 63 years old and was diagnosed with UC about 20 years ago. I am allergic to sulfa drugs and found this out due to an allergic reaction to Asulfadine that put me into a terrible flare. Prednisone and a long hospital stay ended the flare and I then transitioned to Imuran. In spite of not liking potential side effects the Imuran helped me to stay in remission for 10 years. I tried to wean myself off of Imuran, with my doctor's agreement, but wound up in another flare. At that point Imuran stopped working for me, I tried to get back on it, but it didn't work the second time. I am now on Humira. For those it works for Imuran is a great option. I wish it would have continued to work for me so that I was taking a pill, not a shot with the Humira.

by John Cesarone on Azathioprine
Worked for a long time, then....

I was on Azathioprine for about ten years, and it did a great job keeping me in remission. I kind of worried about side effects (cancer, etc.) but they never happened. Then one fine day, it stopped working! Oh well, it was a good run. With this disease, you take it one day at a time.

by Mary on Azathioprine

I am 65yrs old and was diagnosed with mild UC in 1979. I was fortunate that my symptoms went into remission for 23yrs.
From 2003 I started to have mild symptoms which would settle after a course of prednisolone.
Then in 2014 I had a major flare and was in hospital for 2weeks after having three Infusions of Remicade I was then put on 100 mgs a day of azathioprine. When I first started taking it I was feeling nauseous so I was told to split the dose and take 50mgs in the morning and 50mgs in the evening which helped. I did loose some hair but in time my body a justed to it the hair loss stopped.
In April 2018 I was feeling better and symptom free and was following SCDiet and making my own yogurt and not wanting to take azathioprine because of it's repercussions stopped taking azathioprine. Big mistake! With in 6 weeks started having symptoms so went back on azathioprine and a course of prednisolone which did not work .
Ended up in hospital for two weeks with severe Ulcerative Colitis and nearly lost my bowel. My blood results kept showing I had elevated reading's from azathioprine so now I am on 50mgs a day plus Remicade Infusions every 8 wks.
I sometimes think I would rather be rid of my bowel than be on these medications but in saying that the azathioprine did work for me for a few years giving me quality of life.

by Sandra UCer on Azathioprine

On Azathioprene for years. At dosage 150 keeps U.C. Under control. One year ago tried to cut back to 100 mg, instant flare took 4 months to stabilize. Staying at 150mg and checking liver bloods 4 X year.

by Alex on Azathioprine
Getting bald

Started taking Imuran (50 mg) together with Remicade coming out of an awful flare (was hospitalized and almost went through a surgery). For two months (since the start of the Imuran) was tapering until I was completely out of prednisone and taking the two medications above. After a month of Imuran (when they say the medication starts kicking on) my hair started falling non stop (started also not growing). As for other side effects, they were super mild and totally bearable (teeth sensitivity and pain, warm body, particularly at night, some headaches once in a while - not everyday, low fever once in a while). In three months taking Imuran, I lost 2/3 of my hair (and I had a LOT of hair - my whole family from both sides has lots of hair). I want to stop the medication, but my doc doesn't think it is a good idea because it is working well. He said I should choose - the hair or a controlled UC (which took one year to be controlled since I was diagnosed in October 2017). He also believes the hair loss is related to my severe condition/flare when I was hospitalized and his fellow believes it is my age (I'm 56 years old) when people start losing their hair. The fellow and doc also believe the disease might be the cause of my hair loss. My husband and I firmly believe it is the Imuran. I'm already looking for wigs. Never thought I would be in this situation in my life, when hair was never an issue in my family. Of course, if you get a cancer, you go through this, but I didn't expect this at this point. Yeah, yeah, I'm aware this is a chemotherapy medication also used for cancer patients.

by Eileen Caswell on Azathioprine

Been on Azathioprine for over two years now [50mg two a day] plus Salofalk granules 3g. At first they completely suppressed appetite and I lost a lot of weight. Had a bad flare early last year; in hospital for ten days. Had a course of steroids over six weeks and continued with the Azathioprine and this year I have hardly any symptoms at all. Gained my weight back and the asthma and eczema that I have has for years have all but disappeared. They do upset your stomach, but you have to give them at least 12 months. I would recommend them.

by Bee on Azathioprine
Imuran Works, Be Patient

I have severe Crohns and UC, and have tried all the medications available. Imuran works for me, but it did not work immediately. It required patience, giving the drug many months to get into your system. When 150mg started causing headaches, went down to 125mg with same desired results and headaches went away. You will need to get regular bloodwork so doctor can monitor how your body is coping with the drug, but for me it has been the wonderful answer many years long desired. I do have to be very careful, knowing full well the consequences of an immune suppressant. For me it is a fact of life, and the benefits outweigh the risks. I would recommend this drug knowing full well its potential to harm other vitals. Need it to survive the disease. I pray for protection every day and so far have been very blessed in that way. We all do the best we can. I hope it will help you too if you need it.

by Pavlina on Azathioprine

I've been on Imuran for a year, no side effects. Also no flares since then. My doctor has prescribed it to me because I've been on steroids two times in three years and she thinks they're more harmful than Imuran. Plus the disease has spread to the whole colon. My liver is doing fine for now. Before then I was on Pentasa, also no side effects.

by Larena Williams on Azathioprine

I don't feel like a benefited at all from azathioprine . I was stopped and tried humira started to build antibodies and THEN azathioprine helped to lower the antibodies and my humira drug level is now where it should be . So WITH Humira ill give it 4stars without 1star. I just don't see why they use it because I honestly do not feel like it helps and I was on It alone for years . If I ever have to stop Humira I wouldn't continue to take it . And I don't know why some many doctors prescribe it for UC /Crohns when its NOT approved for these 2 diseases and I highly doubt it'll ever be .

by Maria on Azathioprine

I have been on this medication imuran for 4 months. It seems to help with my UC, however I really didnt start til just recently helping. It takes 4 to 6 months to adjust. I am also on remicade. I had joint pain and insomnia for a little.

by Sandra Hallett on Azathioprine

Have been taking Azathioprine for many years. In 2016 doc cut back from 150mg to 100 mg daily. Began a flare within days. Back to 150mg within a week but flare continued for 5 months.

Finally, after stopping all dairy, yogurts etc began to slow. Colonoscopy showed worsening U.C. And now Crohn's as well. Had tried and stopped Uceris orally and foam during flare with no change.

After colonoscopy continued Azathioprine 150 mg and added Liada 2 per day.

Still in remission but severe joint pain and itching, dry skin. Not a problem as life altering flare is gone for now and, in my 70's, expect the body to change! Diagnosed in my 50's and have a close family member with complete ileostomy so I feel lucky!

by John on Azathioprine
So far so good

For me this stuff has been working great. Before I started this I had severe inflammation for almost a year. 4 months after upping my dosage to 150mg I had a colonoscopy which showed only mild inflammation. I haven't had any bleeding since I started this stuff in early 2015. Liver & kidneys all doing fine per regular blood work.

by Connie on Azathioprine

I give Azathioprine one star only because I had a toxic reaction to it. Initially (first 2 months of being on 50 mg), I had NO side effects whatsoever. But after those 2 months, my lab work showed that I had developed drug-induced hepatitis. My liver enzymes were 4x normal. Also, my white blood cell count dropped into abnormal levels. My doctor took me off the drug immediately.

by Josh Byrum on Azathioprine
Imuran-Give it time

I'm on 150mg of Imuran. It took approximately 10 weeks for the dose to kick in. Which is my biggest advice when starting Imuran....GIVE IT TIME!

It is textbook knowledge that this medication can take 3 months plus to take effect.

Although at 8 weeks my GI said it probably would not work, I held on and...2 weeks after that... wa-BAM! ka-Zam! Shizzz-Zam! I woke up on a brisk Monday morning, and it was a night and day difference, and within 72 hours I was out of a 2 month flare and back to normal.

by Kaylea on Azathioprine
Azathioprine review

Unsure if this worked for me. I was also diagnosed with C-diff 3 weeks after starting this medication. Within 5 days of starting medication for C-diff, my symptoms I had been fighting for a year alleviated to a remissive state. I took Azathioprine for 8 months, experienced a bit of joint pain and a lot of hair loss. I weaned off this medication gradually over 2 months. I have been okay, not a flare, a spot of bleeding after my wisdom teeth came out and was on 3 courses of antibiotics for dry socket. I don't want to go back on this drug, however, I don't know yet if it helped me obtain remission. I really feel that C-diff in IBD is not checked for enough. My first culture came back negative (done in the community through culture sample) but my GI did a colonoscopy again and took a sample that came back positive.

by Alan Lancaster on Azathioprine

I found Azathioprine difficult to start off with, it took me about 4 months to get used to it. I had stomach pains and sickness every day but it eased as time went on.

I am very tired all the time since I started on Azathioprine and my pharmacist thinks my fatigue might be related to it.

I can't say I feel any benefit from it, I still get flare ups and I still have to go! a number of times a day.

I am into my 3rd year of it and my doctor won't consider taking me off it for at least another two years (I asked 6 months ago). He told me treatment was for 7 years when he started me on it in Jan 2013.

by lucky on Azathioprine

Started taking aza wid pred foam.n iron tabs was doing ok.3wks later stop takin pred foam n iron tabs took aza only.started vomiting had fever etc.took myself off it.doc told me take it again i wouldnt i lost 9lb in 4wks on it.

by Laura on Azathioprine
Luckily off of Imuran!

I am a 30 yrs old woman. I was diagnosed when I was 23. I had been on Imuran for around five years. My doctor did not honestly discuss the side effects with me. I should have done the research but figured he would let me know if there was anything of note.

I want to get pregnant and in Canada they very strongly do not support taking the medication during pregnancy as there are no studies into its effects during pregnancy, and afterwards.

I was anxious to come off but I have been so happy after stopping the medication. I started a Pentasa suppository to offset, and I am not in a flare up.

I started reading up on Imuran and was not so happy about the side effects. Definitely will not get back on it after my pregnancy. I would definitely refuse even if my doctor pressed.

by Kelly on Azathioprine

I am a 27 year old female and was diagnosed with proctitis March of 2014. I was successfully brought into remission at that time with Canasa suppositories and Asacol HD, and maintained remission with Apriso. Being dumb (and poor) I stopped taking Apriso this past January and started to flare in March; I waited to see my GI and when I did he doubled my dose of Apriso and prescribed me prednisone (40mg on a taper schedule) which had absolutely zero effect on me. Being concerned that pred wasn't working, I was scoped and we found that my inflammation and ulcers had spread all the way to the middle of my transverse colon. My GI put me on Rowasa enemas and 100mg Azathioprine. The first week I took Aza I felt extremely tired but chalked it up to my anemia due to the constant bleeding. The second week taking it is when the nausea and vomiting started; I took the two 50mg tablets with a full breakfast meal, and about 30 mins later the indigestion, heartburn and nausea would start. An hour or so later I began to vomit until I had nothing left in my stomach and would feel sick the rest of the day. I let this continue for a week (making mad dashes at work to get sick - I think half of my office thinks I'm pregnant!) and talked to my GI who suggested splitting the dose which did not stop the vomiting. Aside from feeling sick (and some hair loss), in this two week period Aza had 95% cleared up my bleeding and I was finally having solid BMs 2-3x a day! After bloodwork was done and we confirmed that it was not pancreatitis, we determined that I was having an allergic reaction and that staying on this was not feasible due to the side effects. I'm really frustrated because it did work for me, and a lot sooner than they say. I haven't taken it in 3 days and still feel good, however not sure how long this will last so starting the process of getting on Humira. My hope is that I continue to feel good, and get to full remission on Asacol and a clean diet. All in all, this drug worked for me and I would still be taking it if I could tolerate the side effects. Don't get caught up in the negative reviews - talk to your doctor and decide what's best for you not in comparison with others!

by Sanne on Azathioprine
Doing well and pregnant again

I was put on this drug about 18 months ago, because the Salofalk and Budesonid weren't working (enough), they eased my symptoms a little, but after having an inflamed colon for 4 years... it was time for something else!

I did have nausea in the morning for a few months, and I have a bit of acne, but that's it! Of course i'd much rather have a bit of acne over feeling so extremely sick with colitis.

After a while I was able to lower the dosis of Salofalk, and cut out the budesonid completely. Things were going so well, my doctor told me it was safe to get pregnant again. So we got busy ;-) and I'm now 23 weeks along with my second daughter, six years after I had my first.

Azathioprine was definitely a success for me. I am trying to be very careful with sun exposure, I cover up and wear sun cream on my face and hands.

by Kelly on Azathioprine
Worked, couldn't handle side effects

I am a 26 year old female and was diagnosed with proctitis March of 2014. I was successfully brought into remission at that time with Canasa suppositories and Asacol HD, and maintained remission with Apriso. Being dumb (and poor) I stopped taking Apriso this past January and started to flare in March; I waited to see my GI and when I did he doubled my dose of Apriso and prescribed me prednisone (40mg on a taper schedule) which had absolutely zero effect on me. Being concerned that pred wasn't working, I was scoped and we found that my inflammation and ulcers had spread all the way to the middle of my transverse colon. My GI put me on Rowasa enemas and 100mg Azathioprine. The first week I took Aza I felt extremely tired but chalked it up to my anemia due to the constant bleeding. The second week taking it is when the nausea and vomiting started; I took the two 50mg tablets with a full breakfast meal, and about 30 mins later the indigestion, heartburn and nausea would start. And hour or so later I began to vomit until I had nothing left in my stomach and would feel sick the rest of the day. I let this continue for a week (making mad dashes at work to get sick - I think half of my office thinks I'm pregnant!) and talked to my GI who suggested splitting the dose which did not stop the vomiting. Aside from feeling sick, in this two week period Aza had 95% cleared up my bleeding and I was finally having solid BMs 2-3x a day! After bloodwork was done and we confirmed that it was not pancreatitis, we determined that I was having an allergic reaction and that staying on this was not feasible due to the side effects. I'm really frustrated because it did work for me, and a lot sooner than they say. I haven't taken it in 3 days and still feel good, however not sure how long this will last so starting the process of getting on Humira. My hope is that I continue to feel good, and get to full remission on Asacol and a clean diet. All in all, this drug worked for me and I would still be taking it if I could tolerate the side effects. Don't get caught up in the negative reviews - talk to your doctor and decide what's best for you not in comparison with others!

by Katie M on Azathioprine
Imuran as maintenance

I've had UC for around 7 years, to begin with I was put on 2.4g of Asacol as a maintenance dosage, after about 18 months of unsettled symptoms my specialist added 75mg of Azathioprine/Imuran.

I've been really lucky and have, in the last five years, experienced no noticeable side effects.

I do have to have my flu jab each winter and so I've not had a proper cold in years I just sniffle from November to March! Whether that is down to the flu jab protecting me from the worst germs or the Azathioprine suppresses the usual immune responses (coughs, sore throats etc.). I have my three-monthly blood tests to check for pancreatic issues, but so far so good.

My main concern is the recent-ish discovery of a link between Azathioprine and the effects of sun exposure. I received a letter advising me to wear sunblock and cover up at all times, then counteract this by taking vitamin D supplements! I guess I'm pretty laid back on this, I wear sunscreen and make sure not to burn, but it's quite scary to be told that this probably isn't enough! Equally I don't want to inflict rickets on myself by avoiding the sun completely, but maybe I'm being naive!

I've had a few flares, but all relatively mild, if fairly long-winded! Generally treated with Predfoam, after my first ever flare at diagnosis I avoid prednisolone tablets whenever possible. I never thought I'd prefer the 'topical' remedies for this disease over the 'systemic' ones!!

by cindy on Azathioprine

I was on azathioprine for fourteen yrs to treat a severe case, nearly dead, of eosinophilic faciitis, from cheeks to toes, along with high doses of prednisone and other drugs. I'm June of 2014, I had aquired several squamous cell cancer areas . And lost 45 lbs in 3 months. I was taken off the Imuran because of using it so long, this was one of the side effects. While I did take this drug, I would get nauseous for about 30mins, tired, felt muscle weakness. It did save my life and side effects are nothing compared to living.

by Ellen mccarty on Azathioprine
fed up with meds

I stopped smoking in 1991 and within 6 months I was diagnosed with uc . It wasn't too bad at the start ,but over the years has got progressively worse . Started on asacol then salazapiren with animas, now I'm on mezevent with 150g of azathioprine Also prednisone at different times over years . Azathioprine was put up to 150g from 100g because uc effected my liver, since the taking 150g my blood count is going down and I have been bleeding from the gums so I am very concerned about taking these cancer causing drugs . I have also been very sick taking them and then was given anti sickness tablets . I feel I would be better smoking than live like this so before starting on the fags again I'm going to try e.cigs and will let you know how I get on ..

by Cristina on Azathioprine
Imuran Works...After a While

I started taking imuran after over a year long flare that was not helped by prednisone. It took 3 months to kick in, but with 100 mg/day, I feel better than I have in a long time. The only side effect I've noticed is that my fingers are always really cold, but I'll take cold fingers over a flare any day :)

by Aimz on Azathioprine
It can work - even if it doesn't at first

Aza helped me ween off steriods in what was my second major flare. It kept me well and out of a flare for 1.5 years and then I had to stop taking it as I started to itch all over uncontrollably when they increased my dose to 75/100mg. I also had a mucoseal develop in my mouth (like a large ulcer) which are both side effects that show you are allergic to the medication. I was obviously allergic at higher doses. Came off Aza as instructed and 2-3 months later had a massive flare and ended up in hospital again. Talk of major surgery as the pred wasn't even doing its job for me and I just couldn't get out of the flare. Before I opted for what seemed like my only hope of surgery I decided with my Dr to try Aza again at a lower than average dose for my body weight and height (I should take 100mg but obvs makes me allegic) so we opted for 50mg of Aza in combination with another drug called Allopurinol. I have taken this comination, along with Asacol as well for almost 2 years and have remained flare free and almost side effect free. I do still get the itchy feeling from time to time but it is no where near as awful as before. When I started on Aza originally I did loose quite a bit of hair, it thinned massively, and it was quite distressing, but once its in your system my hair grew back. I also felt nauseous on it the first time around, but apparently the Allopurinol that I now take with the Aza helps diminish some of Aza's side effects. I don't know the science behind them working together, but it works just fine for me at the moment. Hope it stays that way otherwise its surgery! If you have had no look with Aza on its own, ask to try it with another drug called Allopurinol - it worked for me and saved me from surgery, for the time being anyway.

by Megan on Azathioprine

In the midst of a terrible flare up I was put on Imuran. It was horrible. It didn't work for me at all. Instead I had night sweats and a general unwell feeling on top of my UC symptoms. I landed in the hospital with C Diff and a strange "pox" like rash. I had two sets of opinions. One doctor urged me to never use it again and felt that the "pox" was a direct result of the Imuran. The infectious disease doctor felt that the Imuran lowered my immune system so much that I caught some strange form of pox! We'll never know but I won't go on it again!

by Kelly on Azathioprine
Worked for me

I have been on it for 2 years now (100mg). It worked when nothing else seemed to work for me and I could not taper prednisone at all without flaring. No major side effects. Two years of remission after being sick for almost three straight years.

by Heidi on Azathioprine
not worth the side effects

I was put on azathioprine while hospitalized with a bad flare (25+ BMs/day), at the same time I was put on IV prednisone. I was released from hospital with 10-12 bloody D's/ day. After six months things were still the same BM wise, I also had lost a lot of hair and felt so nauseated and sick every day. I asked to be taken off aza and pretty soon started to feel better. BMs stayed around 10/day and my hair started to grow back.

In my little city in Canada it is difficult to get a hold of a doctor to ask questions. I felt really uncomfortable taking a drug to suppress my immune system when the doc doesn't know why I have this disease or why this drug might work. Feels like Russian roulette in a way.

I really wish it would have worked for me. This disease sucks the life out of people.

Now I'm doing the "diet doesn't matter" thing. Specifically using the auto immune Paleo protocol. Bleeding is almost stopped and BMs average about 6-7/day (very seldom wake up at night to visit the bathroom). No more joint pain and lots of energy. I haven't had an 'accident' since I started this a month ago. For the last two years I was wearing diaper like pads even in my own house because I had URGENCY!

by Rachel on Azathioprine
Can anyone comment on long term use of azathioprine?

I've been on aza for about three weeks now. On a dose of 100mg per day. The only side effect I have is that I feel a little out of it sometimes but a small price to pay if it keeps me in remission. Just come out of a stubborn flare that lasted four months. Good news is that things are good now. Only one to two BM per day and super solid! Woo hoo! I never thought I would get there!

I am a little worried about the long term effects of aza as are many of you. Could those of you who have been on aza for ten years plus comment upon whether the drug is still effective for you and whether there have been any side effects after his time? Plus if any ladies out there took it throughout pregnancy, please comment upon the outcome of this as I shall be planning baby number 2 next year whilst being on it. Thanks!

by Daylin on Azathioprine

I was on Imuran for a six month period following the births of my children to help get things UNDER CONTROL. I flared badly during and after each of my three pregnancies. Imuran was not the answer for me as it caused intolerable joint pain. My fingers, feet, and hips were so uncomfortable that I was really unable to do anything at the end of my work day since the joints were so inflamed by 4:00. My UC was not as bad as the joint pain! I stoped using it and began on 6MP - a different immunosuppressant - and have done very well. Two years and counting with no flares! N.B. Hair loss was also a problem on Imuran. Sadly when you have thin hair to start with it is a big blow when what you do have starts to fall out in huge quantities!!!

by ashley on Azathioprine
imuaran as maintenace

My son started on imuran at the age of 4 now 13years old never had a problem with the drug he uses it with pret and sulfasalazine.I do wish we can stop the pret coz he is not growing anymore..

by Anita on Azathioprine
Imuran Review

Imuran was the first medication I was prescribed once diagnosed, April 2007. I started on 50mg, got a flare 6 months later, was then put on 75mg, another flare 6 months after achieving remission, to 100mg same thing happened another flare up in 6 months then put on 125mg. I felt ok on imuran but I don't know if it was working for me and perhaps I should have been on a combination of medications to prevent relapses. After 3 months of being on 125mg imuran I was taken off the medication as my white blood cells were getting too low. So was on it for a year and 9 months.

Once changing specialist as I moved to another area. I was kept on salofalk but because I was still having yearly flares he decided to try me on imuran also, just over 2 years of being off it. I was on 125mg of imuran and 4g salofalk granules.

I didn't feel as though I had any side effects and blood tests were normal. However not sure if it works well enough for me. Having combination cut my flares from twice a year to once.

I took myself off imuran 18 months ago after being on it for a year and 10 months as I wanted to start a family. I don't find that I'm any worst being off it.

by jess on Azathioprine

I started Imuran about 2 years ago after asacol and lialda both stopped working. I currently take imuran daily and have remicaide infusions every 4 weeks. After going into a sever flare 6 months after my daughter was born, it took 2 years to get my body to start going into remission. With my current dosage and following the scd diet I have been in complete remission for over a year with tests showing no signs of me ever having uc! Plus... fewer side effects than previous meds!

by El Herr on Azathioprine

I take Imuran, Lialda and Remicade. Imuran alone did not stop my bleeding. After 2 years Remicade was added. It took over a year and now I only have occasional bleeding. I am no longer anemic and my white blood count stays extremely low. I go to the doctor later this month to, hopefully, eliminate at least one prescription.

by hammad on Azathioprine
Azathioprine working so far

Azathioprine is the generic version of Imuran and its a very strong drug, it requires monitoring the body very 3 months but it has a very high success rate. I been on it from about 9 months with no side effects . The only thing is since its an immune suppressant it will make you more prone to cold and flu . As much as if i am in the park and it rains i come home with a flu. But over all i am so relieved with the disease. ....IF any one wanting to read my full story search it under "help me get off pred" thanxx

by Maria Nicholson on Azathioprine

I took Imuran for about a month. I don't remember it being that helpful. What I do remember is being mildly nauseated and tired the whole time I was taking it. The sick feeling gradually became worse until one day I was vomiting bile and couldn't get off the toilet because of excessive diarrhea. I ended up in the hospital that day. I had almost blacked out and was very dehydrated. They basically pumped me with fluids until I was stable enough to go home.

by Brittany on Azathioprine

I have been on azathioprine for 2 years now and it has worked wonders! I've never felt better and despite the risks, it is worth it for me.

by Randy on Azathioprine
Did not work for me

This was a last ditch effort to get my UC under control. I basically flared from the time I was diagnosed until my colectomy. Imuran made me feel like I had the flu, headaches, fever, fatigue, and nausea. Had to stop at three weeks due to kidney problems. I don't recall the numbers, but they got way out of spec for me. I wished it had worked because I was fighting to avoid surgery. Over that now! Good luck if you try it.

by justine on Azathioprine

Took 6 Weeks to kick in, no real side effects.with remicade took me to full remission.

by Tracey Albano on Azathioprine

I was started on Imuran 2 years ago after unsuccessfully being treated with Prednisone and Salazopyrin. I take 8 x 500mg of that and 3 x 50mg of Imuran daily and I am finding that it is no longer as effective as it was. I still have up to 6-7 loose bowel movements a day and almost always blood in my stools. I am finding blood on my underwear daily also. I don't get a lot of cramping and pain but excessive constant wind.

by Khadija A. Malik on Azathioprine
Imuran exasperates me

I was diagnosed with UC in July 2012 and was treated with Prednisone, Pentasa and Imuran to begin with. I weaned myself off the prednisone after 3 months of taking it but continue with Pentasa and Imuran till today. I have been on both drugs for two years now and while I am in remission I have no clue what good these drugs do for me. I feel it's the supplements I take which keep me in check (I take a combination of Krill Oil, Astaxanthin and Ubiquinol and add probiotics through my diet).

I have been wanting to discontinue Imuran for over a year now but each doctor consulted has advised I stay on it. I reduced my dose of the medicine and feel no change in the way I function. The most exasperating effects of Imuran on me were hair loss and weight gain. However, the weight gain may be a side effect of Pentasa. Further, I feel that Imuran aggravates joint pain.

by Adrian on Azathioprine
Not sure what it's doing

I was put on Azathioprine after my first severe flare up in May 2013. I'm not sure if it was the Azathioprine, the antibiotics, the Lialda, predisone or a combination but I went into remission very quickly. I was taken off the pred a couple months later. Was still on Lialda and azathioprine when another flare up started. Not if they are lessening my symptoms or doing nothing at all....? I'd like not to take anything if it's not actually doing anything.

by John Cesarone on Azathioprine
Works for me

I've been on azathioprine for about two years. It has worked wonders, and my colon now functions pretty much like a normal person's. No side effects, at least not yet. I know there are risks, so I try to keep vigilant with recommended tests. But for now, it is a life saver.

by michelle on Azathioprine

I had taken azathioprine for 5 years. It did for 3 years keep my UC under control. Unfortunately it also strips your immune system. I came out of remission 14 months ago and started Infliximab again. This also damages your immune system. My UC is in remission but I now have Hodgkin's Lymphoma which my consultant says was possibly as a result of my lack of immunity. I am off all UC meds now as apparantly the chemotherapy will keep it in remission! I had no side effects with azathioprine.

by Melanie on Azathioprine
So Far So Good

Hello, I also can not currently speak to the long term effects good or bad as I have just started taking Imuran 3 days ago..I am taking it with Asacol and while tapering off of Pred (starting at 40MG, now at 25MG) and so far the only side effect I have had is moderate hand and toe cramps.

by lindsay on Azathioprine
took immuran

I took it for 2 weeks. It made me incredibly sick to my stomach. I wasn't even able to tolerate water, let alone food. I dropped more weight, and was eventually taken off of it during an intense flare. GI determined I was one of the few ppl allergic to it.

by Barb on Azathioprine
Not for me

My MD put me on Imuran at the same time I started Remicade. After a few weeks I felt very nauseous and it lasted for five days before I called my MD and he said to stop taking it.

by anni cooter on Azathioprine
not for me

tried as asacol wasn't working , ended up having no flare relief.. my WBC dropped really low so I was really ill and nauseous., this resulted I'm coming off it..

obviously side effects differ from person to person so there's no reason not to give it a go.

by Amy on Azathioprine

I was diagnosed in 2007. My doctor started me off with Asacol, but it did not help and I lost my hair in handfuls with that one. He switched me to Azathioprine next, and it took about a month to stop my flare. I was symptom free over a year after that. I have had flares now and again and my dosage has been raised, but over all it has been effective for me. I have not noticed any side effects with it. Unfortunately for me, the dosage needed to be raised every few years and I have reached the limit my body will tolerate (as blood test results indicated) . I worry about the long term issues with it, so I am now exploring other alternatives. I'm still taking it with Probiotics and I am doing well. I don't think I'm totally in remission, but I am not bleeding! My goal is to improve my diet and to get weaned from the Azathioprine completely. Good luck friends!

by Eileen on Azathioprine

Having minimal side effects and good results! Good luck to all :-)

by Katherine on Azathioprine
Early days

Started taking it a few weeks ago as new maintenance medication as i am in a stubborn flare. It takes a few months to kick in, by when, hopefullymy flare will be under control. I am also on infliximab/remicade, mezavant/mesalazine, and 40mgpd Pred (after 100mgpd in hospital two weeks ago to try and control the flare). I can't comment on its effectiveness long term but i was warned about some horrific side effects that might affect me straight away. My consultant told me i might feel like death with sickness, but that if i was in any doubt about whether i would live or die, i should keep taking it! Thankfully i seem to be tolerating it well. I've had numbness in my left foot and right arm but this may be related to the UC not the drugs. I don't sleep but thats probably the UC and steroids. I have my first blood test tomorrow to see if it is affecting my blood cell count and liver function. Fingers crossed.

by Fay on Azathioprine

Didn't suit me, started with small dose along with my usual meds but started getting tingling sensation in hands. They upped it to half the dose they were trying to get me on more but had to stop as I was throwing up with it. Fuzzy feeling and a sense of "not quite with it"

18 thoughts on “Azathioprine Reviews”

  1. Been taking azathioprine for about 3 weeks now. The only side effect I’ve had is feeling a little tired and a little dizzy and a bit spaces out at times. Small price to pay if it helps me sty flare free for longer periods. I have just come out of a stubborn flare. Stopped prednisolone a couple of weeks ago and have been told aza will kick in at 4-6 weeks

  2. I tried azathioprine once and it make me violently ill. Matter of fact, I had just had open heart surgery two years ago and while in the hospital recuperating a nurse mistakenly gave me azathioprine instead of my regular dose of mercaptopurine, They had to bring in a specialist to give me two intravenous shots of an anti-something to get me out of a violent regurgitation episode. Mercaptopurine is my wonder drug. I have been symptom-free of UC for 10 years now. It is my lifesaver.

  3. I am prescribed azathioprine when in flare up mode. It concerns me that regular blood tests have to be administered monthly and I wonder and worry about the penalties we may have to face in the long term. My specialist would rather I continue on a maintenance dose but I can’t wait to get off it. I prefer to take a probiotic which is much less harmful. keeping my diet in check is the best cure in my opinion

  4. Shirley:
    I can understand your predicament.
    I was diagnosed back in the early 1990s and went through the hell everyone else has gone through. I was on prednisone, off prednisone, on prednisone, off prednisone, asacol and others …. I am sure you and most others know the routine. I won’t even go into it but I could write a book on it.
    Meanwhile my gastroenterologist had been suggesting, not forcing me, to try mercaptopurine, an old blood cancer chemo pill that was used successfully in the 1950s but I think was set aside for newer treatments.
    Studies showed that mercaptopurine was rather successful in treating UC. I keep putting off the doctor and putting him off because I didn’t want to take a chemo pill, until one day, out of desperation, I gave in and tried it. Within around three months I saw some excellent relief. I can truthfully tell you that I have been in complete remission for at least 12 years and take 50 mgs of mercap daily. My diet is anything I want to eat, including spices and hot peppers with absolutely no effect. I don’t know the overall rate of success of mercap on others but for me it was a miracle drug. I wish you luck.

  5. Shirley:
    Regarding diets, I forgot to mention, I read a lot about people who are trying all types of diet to control their UC. It is my understanding that UC is not a diet issue. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissue and cannot be cured, only controlled. It is my understanding also, the only time diet comes into play is when a person is in a flareup. This is a misconception of those close to UC patients that the cause must be something they are eating, i.e. too much roughage, too much alcohol and so forth. Those who don’t understand UC, albeit well-meaning, are misguided. Nothing, to my knowledge, as of today, will cure UC. As my doctors says, “You will take it to the grave.” Unfortunately, there is not enough money going into UC research for a cure. It is not one of those “popular’ diseases.

  6. The SCD diet was created for those who have
    inflammatory bowel disease. It’s a great way for anyone to eat a healthy balanced diet
    actually. There are different foods causing the
    person with UC or Crohn’s ( or both) to have
    their immune system respond to foods differently than a normal intestine. Some foods
    actually cause inflammation. Not because it’s
    the food itself, but the UC person’s body
    responds that way. Other foods pull water
    Into the colon causing watery stools. Other
    foods ferment in the colon causing all kinds
    of the above mentioned symptoms all at once.
    A wholistic MD would be much more aware
    of this food Involvement, but your average
    GI doc will poo poo the idea. They are more
    interested in “big pharma”. There is lots of
    info on how starches, grains, and sugar are
    not doing us any favors to begin with. These
    three are very hard on inflammatory disease.
    Not to mention the obesity epidemic. We all
    would be healthier if we followed the SCD
    diet as much as possible. Eating in this way
    could foster a healing gut so hopefully those
    meds everyone is nervous about can be dialed
    down or stopped, and remission will be
    the reward. In my humble opinion :)

    1. RE: SCD diet. I’ve been on it for 3 weeks now. I really did not want this diet to work because I love grain products, and it sounded so faddish, but I was between doctors and running out of meds, so was desperate.

      Well, it worked. And no one was more surprised than me. .

      Within 3 days I was no longer bloated. I was down to 2 or 3 BM’s a day from 6-10. Very little bleeding and usually none at all. I am still on it. I wish I could say I lost a lot of weight, but only a couple of pounds and I have 1 or 2 usually normal BM’s. Some gas, I think due to the probiotics. I will stay on this for a year or two and then challenge my diet.

      The SCD diet worked for me.

  7. Hi all,
    I took azathioprine for 6 years and it worked well for me… I am 45 now.
    I was diagnosed with UC back in 2000 after quitting smoking. I never managed to put the two together until I started smoking again after a year of being ill. During that year there was a hospital stay for 10 days where i was being pumped full of steroids and immuno suppressants. When my symptoms finally eased and I was beginning to feel better my UC specialist Dr Rose (an absolute Hero) prescribed 400mg Asacol am and pm as a maintenance dose and also put on 100mg Azathioprine, which was calculated according to my weight at the time.
    So I had been in remission and taking Azathioprine for 6 years with little or no side affects. I did notice my urine was like a fluorescent orange colour, and a slight sensitivity to sunlight, which I overcame with allergy pills (piriton). Apart from that I was lucky and no other symptoms arose. I do believe that the side affects are the biggest issue with this drug, but if your body can handle it, it does help to keep UC in remission long term.
    This lasted until a routine visit to my specialist around 2006. He recommended that I stop taking the azathioprine as he felt that I had taken all the therapeutic effect it could give and my body was now used to it. As I was still smoking around 20 a day there was no noticeable effect at this point. During 2010 I tried to quit smoking but immediately flared up and became ill. I made a choice at that point to start back on the cigarettes, and as soon as the symptoms came ( 5-6 days) they went away again.
    So I had been smoking 20 a day since 2010 and taking 400mg asacol am and pm and had another long period in remission with few issues of any note. Then in Sept 2014 i quit smoking again. I have been in an active flare up since… I am taking prednisolone 40mg daily and 1600mg asacol twice daily with a 1mg mesalazine suppository…. Unfortunately they will not prescribe any azathioprine.
    Thats been 4 months now and no real changes, I will give it till the new year and then I am going to start smoking again.!!
    In 14 years my longest remission periods were while I was on azathioprine and also smoking.
    I hope you good folks all manage to find some quality of life from this illness as I have on and off. Keep up the good fight.. :)

  8. So I am currently taking Humira. June will be about 2yrs. Back in October I started having a flare while taking the Humira (1 injection every other week) so my doctor put me on Prednisone starting at 60mg and slowly tapered down which took about 2months all together. While predisone was kind of working, she decided to increase the amount of Humira I used, so now I currently do Humira, 1 injection every week. I started flaring again about a month ago,and was sent for a colonoscopy. The scope/biopsies showed I’m still actively flaring, just not the entire left side of my large intestine, just the rectum and sigmoid colon now. So apparently Humira is doing it’s job just not as well as it should be. My Dr. wants to start me on Imuran daily, on top of Humira. Has anyone else had to do that? Or something similar where using 2 immunosuppressant medications at the same time??? I’m kind of freaking out honestly, and I’m not sure if I want to do this, and contemplating getting a second opinion. Help :-/

  9. I don’t do well on pred at all, Asacol didn’t work, Canasa did, but only when using it, mesalamine enemas, same thing. I was in a 4 year flare with almost no let up, lots of blood, diarrhea then constipation and a twice a week 4 hour episode during which I couldn’t get out of the bathroom. Changed gastroenterologists after old doc prescribed aziothiaprine then didn’t get blood test results to me to clear me to take it and then called to yell at me for not taking it. I already have one dysfunctional a$$hole in my life, didn’t need another one. So between docs, and waiting for my appt in Sept with new (and nicer) doc out of desperation I tried the SCD diet and within 3 days, I was no longer bloated and had zero bloody diarrhea and am only using a part of a mesalamine enema every 2 or three days when I used to have to used daily. I’ve only been on the SCD diet 2 weeks and have normal stools every couple of days, a few small bouts of gas and no nausea. The SCD diet has been almost a miracle for me. I can’t imagine going back to eating the way I did, even though it was a fairly healthy (I thought) diet. Tons of recipes and support on the web. It is way better to eat a grain-free, no sugar diet than take all the UC meds in the world. They all have side effects and the SCD diet is no risk, period, unless you are allergic to eggs or nuts. I think I’d rather heal my colon rather than treat the symptoms and so far, I’m doing much better with the diet changes than I did with any med they gave to me and it is WAY cheaper to eat this way than most of the meds. I urge anyone with UC/IBS/Crohn’s to at least give the SCD diet a try for 2 weeks and see how you do.

  10. Started on Azathioprine nearly one month ago. Have built up to 100mg (50mg morning and night), with my specialist visit in another three weeks. Liver function is normal (at the moment), no nausea on taking it and symptoms subsiding. I have been on prednisone for months, and gained about 8kgs, so you can imagine I want to get off this necessary evil! If the Azathioprine works, then I’ll come off prednisone. When I start to think about it, it does concern me what it does long term, but seems to be having an effect, with no discernible side effects for the time being. It’s nice to be able to feel normal again!

    1. As an update: went into a lovely remission, but received a call from my doctor at the end of November. Liver enzymes were elevated so cut back to 50 mg (25mg bds). Was OK for about a month, then a flare-up. Went back to Prednisone and was then put back on 100mg of AZA. Now almost back in remission. I have to see the gastroenterologist next week and I think he is going to try another drug, possibly 6-MP.

      1. A quick update. Spoke to my gastroenterologist last week, and we have agreed to tolerate slightly higher liver function tests, on the condition that it doesn’t deteriorate. Feeling very good now. Fingers crossed!

  11. I was too scared to start azathioprine due to potential side effects. I went on the SCD diet, stayed very strictly within the bounds and my symptoms went away in about 2 weeks. They return only if I go off the diet and eat wheat, rice or white sugar. Corn to a lesser degree. I lost some weight, felt good, no bleeding, no frequency, no bloating. You might try it. I use Asacol suppositories as needed, but they are only needed if I go off the diet. Otherwise, no symptoms. I’ve been on the SCD diet 1 1/2 years, ate things off the diet to challenge the diet and see if I’m cured. Not yet, but my tolerance for wheat, sugar and corn are higher than they used to be.

  12. I posted here Nov. 2016. Update June, 2018: Continuing with 150 mg Imuran-Azathioprene snce last flare. No other meds for U.C. , Crohn’s. ❤️So fortunate. Frequent labs to check liver, etc. For now I must stay with 150mg and live with the otherrisks. 30 years in with disease, now 80 yrs. young.

  13. After being diagnosed at 47 years old and in the hospital for 10 days, I was diagnosed with Severe UC. My wife immediately researched diets and placed me on the SCD strictly almost 1 year. Went off prednisone gradually a month after leaving the hospital and began taking Balsalazide Disodium 3 Capsules 3 x a day and Imuran 100 Mg daily. Reduced Balsalaide to 2x a day . Not as strict on the SCD, but no longer drink Beer and try to stay away from foods that do not agree and processed and sugar! Juicing as well.
    Also I was taking Freeda SCD vitamins . I have been in remission for 3 years. I am back to a healthy weight after 1 year. Blood work every 6 months and DR. Visit every year now.

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