Azathioprine is a relatively powerful antiinflammatory agent. Although its beneficial effect in various conditions is principally attributable to its direct immunosup-pressive action, the antiinflammatory properties of the drug play an important role in its overall therapeutic effectiveness.
Azathioprine has been used widely in combination with corticosteroids to inhibit rejection of organ transplants, particularly kidney and liver allografts. However, it is usually reserved for patients who do not respond to cyclosporine plus corticosteroids alone.
Azathioprine also has applications in certain disorders with autoimmune components, most commonly rheumatoid arthritis. It is as effective as cyclophos-phamide in the treatment of Wegener's granulomatosis. It has largely been replaced by cyclosporine in im-munosuppressive therapy. Relative to other cytotoxic agents, the better oral absorption of azathioprine is the reason for its more widespread clinical use.
Was this article helpful?