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Opinions on azathioprine

Hey Guys

Just wondering if any of you have been on azathioprine , As this is my only option of immunosuppressant as I'm 24 and would like to have children as some point so there others are a no go personally for me. I'm slightly sceptical to suppress my immune system and have another appointment on Monday to discuss this in more depth. Just wondering if anyone had tried the non pharmacological approach with an auto immune paleo diet and exercise plan as a way of reducing flares rather than immunosuppressants. I ready taking hydroxychloriquine. Just wondering if anyone could shed some light

Many thanks x

5 Replies

I'm not sure u are supposed to get pregnant whilst taking azathioprine, my rheumatologist started me on it a few months ago and asked if I was planning to get pregnant as I don't think I could have had it If I was. This is only whilst taking it.

I was a bit unsure about taking it as was worried about lowering my immune system but after a few days thinking decided to try it and so far been ok just had dose increased


Azathioprine has been shown to be safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding. For more information about which treatments are and are not suitable for pregnancy, please look at our booklet at


This is what he told me, maybe he just meant that they prefer u not to then a benefit risk situation. I don't know, I'd just had a baby and he asked if I was planning another pregnancy before he started me on it.


I was given azathioprine as I want children and my rheumatologist said it was ok to take when pregnant (obviously it has risks but they were assessed as being less than my lupus flaring). My neighbour has ulcerative colitis and has taken azathioprine through her pregnancy and she and the baby were fine. I unfortunately couldn't tolerate the azathioprine and so had to stop taking it. I couldn't tolerate hydroxychloroquine either so I'm not on anything apart from a low dose of steroids which I'm tapering off as I won't let them near me now!

I had lupus for 25 years before they diagnosed me and have managed it through resting when I need to, cutting out wheat and dairy and trying not to get too stressed (which is one reason I avoid doctors). I think luck is involved as well though as we all have a different version of the disease and react differently to treatments etc.

Good luck with it all!



Hi shielsamas,

A good healthy, balanced diet and exercise can help in the management of lupus, but in many cases they may not be sufficient and so other treatments are needed alongside. It is important to remember that lupus is very variable and presents differently in everybody, so what works for one person may not work for another.

The only diet recommended for people with lupus is one that is healthy and balanced. We have a guide for lupus and healthy eating which you can view and download here -

We also have an article about lupus and exercise at

A paleo diet may not be recommended because large amounts of red meat are associated increased heart-disease and cancer risks (which are already greater for people with lupus. In addition, it often includes insufficient levels of calcium and vitamin D which are needed for good bone health (which is important if you are on steroid treatment - and would be needed for your teeth).

Please check with your doctor before starting any alternative treatments, diets or supplements. It is important to get individualised advice about any potential repercussions for your health or interactions with treatments.


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