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Read time: 16 mins
Last updated: 06 May 2020
Published: 24 Jul 2020

4.1 Therapeutic indications

Azathioprine is used in facilitating the survival of organ and tissue transplants, where it is mainly used as an immunosuppressant.

Azathioprine is used in the treatment of patients exhibiting the following conditions, where it has been shown to have a marked therapeutic effect: chronic active hepatitis, severe rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, acquired haemolytic anaemia and severe cases of specified dermatological diseases (pemphigus vulgaris, dermatomyositis, polyarteritis nodosa, pyoderma gangrenosa) when these conditions are: (a) refractory to corticosteroids or (b) when corticosteroids are contra-indicated or (c) when controlled by corticosteroids in dosages which are producing severe side-effects. In patients who are experiencing such side-effects, the aim of azathioprine treatment is to reduce the required maintenance dose of steroids.

Azathioprine is used in the treatment of pemphigus and rheumatoid arthritis where it has significant therapeutic activity when used without corticosteroids.

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