Azathioprine: Hello I was wondering if anyone takes... - LUPUS UK


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alisoncrowther profile image

Hello I was wondering if anyone takes Hydroxychoroquine as well Azathioprine and how does it work together I am starting the Azathioprine on Wednesday but been on hdroxychoroqune for around 8 months with no positive effects I am very anxious and starting to panic about bad side effects if there’s anyone out there that can maybe put my mind at rest that would be great

19 Replies

hi Alison, just a quick reply as about to go into a meeting.... I take both - I started aza at the beginning of June and have found it to be amazing. I feel completely different on it. I didn't feel well for the first month, and still have the odd upset tummy, but overall I am hugely better as a result. I noticed improvements as early as 7 weeks. My rheumatologist has reassured me that a lot of the more serious side effects tend to happen in people who are taking much higher doses following transplants. That has put my mind at ease. I'm happy to write more later, but better sign off for now. Take care, and I hope you have as good a response to aza as I have!

Thank you so much 😊

Hi Alison

I was on a combination of HQC + Azathioprine. The drugs were a walk in the park. No side effects at all!!

However, Aza did not work for me. It took the Rheumatologist a long time to figure this out as my markers don't rise when I flare.

In hindsight I say a walk in the park because I am now on MTX - got two- thirds of my life back - yippee! But it has been a long haul getting to this point. And I have had a lot of side effects with MTX for about a year: nausea, hair loss, diarrhea, gut pain and mouth ulcers. All have resolved themselves now thankfully.

Hence HCQ + Aza was the bees knees - hope the combination works for you.


alisoncrowther profile image
alisoncrowther in reply to Joy_1

God it sounds like you been through the mill I’m glad your feeling better now and thank you for the information ❤️

Joy_1 profile image
Joy_1 in reply to alisoncrowther

Thanks. Luckily your mind soon forgets the trials and tribulations. I'm just glad there are drugs out there for us.

I forgot to say, I also have a cousin who is on HCQ + Aza. She has been on Aza for about 10 years and it's working for her.

Always trying to see the glass half full .......


I take both!

I was also very worried about taking azathioprine but doctors keep a very close eye on you! You will need to have regular blood tests to check for changes.

It has helped me but not fully stopped me having flares, I am having one at the moment actually, so I don't know if my doctor will keep me on it now :( Everybody is different though and their lupus affects them differently so I'd say just give it a go and just be sure to get your bloods checked as the doctor advises you xx

Thank you 😊

I was asking the very same question 10 months ago!

Initially there were some side effects, but I got used to them after a month or so and don't notice them now.

The aza stopped my hair falling out - call me vain but to me it was a major problem! Pleurisy much less, arthritic pain a little less, though no improvement to fatigue which for me was the worse symptom.

Try it, you will need to do very regular blood tests on it, bear with the side effects - for me, slight upset tummy and general tired washed out feeling. You will start with maybe 50mg a day then increase. The side effects came back with the increase but I adjusted again after a few weeks.

Someone advised that i take mine at night with my evening meal so that in theory I sleep through any problems. It helped i think, i had some days initially where i woke with an upset tummy but I still take mine like this and as I said before I don't think I get side effects now, or not that I notice anyway.

I hope this helps, i know when you are embarking on something so scary it helps to get positive feed back.

I also hope it works for you.

Take care and let us know how you get on.

Thank you I will post tomorrow is d day when I get my tablets I’m dreading it ❤️

Hi Alison I'be been taking both for about 3 years and i've been fine with no side effects. I have regular blood tests at the doctors and hospital so they can keep an eye on any changes. It makes me feel reassured that i'm being monitored closely. Hope this helps you.

Thank you I’m dreading going to see the rheumatologist nurse tomorrow who s going to give me the new tablets suppose I’m getting anxiety attack s I just want to feel better and I’m scared these tablets might make me feel worse but thank you for your comment ❤️

Hi. I take both .hydroxy for years and aza for 3months now. I did feel dizzy about a week into it but kept taking and fine now. Hope it works for you x

Time will only tell suppose things work different for everyone thank you comments ❤️

What is the azathioprine for? Yet another drug I’ve never heard of in the US.

Paul_Howard profile image
Paul_HowardPartner in reply to

Hi MisterE, azathioprine is an immunosuppressant. You may know it by the name 'Imuran'? Treatment options for lupus don't tend to vary much between the UK and the US generally although some medications will have slightly different names.

You may be interested in this page on the Lupus Foundation of America's website about medications used for lupus -

in reply to Paul_Howard

My rheumatologist has not once mentioned Imuran.

Paul_Howard profile image
Paul_HowardPartner in reply to

Whilst there are a range of different lupus medications available, it doesn't mean that an individual will necessarily be tried on all of them. This depends upon the presentation of symptoms, severity of disease and how well initial treatments are tolerated.

in reply to Paul_Howard

What is the difference between Imuran and hydroxychloroquine and or methotrexate? Is it something you would take in lieu of those medications or would you take it alongside them?

Paul_Howard profile image
Paul_HowardPartner in reply to

Hi Hidden, if you take a look at the link to the Lupus Foundation of America's webpage it will give you more information about these different medications. These treatments are often used in combination with hydroxychloroquine and sometimes each other. It depends on the presentation of symptoms, effectiveness of treatment and tolerance of treatment.

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