PBC Foundation

Ever Heard of the Drug AZATHIOPRINE

My mothers liver doctor just suggested that she start taking this medicine Azathioprine. Back in February of this year her liver got badily inflammed her liver enzymes were in the 400's and she was experiencing severe back pain and chest discomfort. She was in and out of the ER had several test done nothing showed anything. She was then given prednisone for several weeks and is still on it today just a lower dose. Liver enzymes are all back to normal and no more severe back pain.

Her liver specialist states she had a badly inflammed liver at the time she was having all of the problems. He did blood work and stated that some people cant take this medicine. He thought she would be okay. This medicine with the steroids should keep it in remission. We did some research on the medicine and it sounds awlful.

If anyone has taken this medicine or had any experience with it at all please let me know. We are just scared of all of the scary side effects.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post.

4 Replies

Hi I have been diagnosed with PBC for 3 years lupus for 42 years. I took Azotheoprine for several years because of kidney issues. It is a immune suppressant drug sometimes given for kidney transplant patients. That's all I know, it has been used for years, so not a new drug. Hope that helps!


Azathioprine is the most common drug given to treat autoimmune hepatitis in the US. I was on it for 6 months with no adverse effects. Off it now to see if my LFTS stablize. I figure the dr suggested this as the liver was very inflamed. Auto immune hepatitis is hard to diagnose, but most will react positively to the medication.


Hi, Andrea.

The situation you describe above is suggestive of AIH crossover. Perhaps, you can get in touch with the Foundation and we can take you through the details to find out exactly what is happening with your mum.

Azathioprine used to be given for PBC before Urso became available. It is still used extensively in AIH and/or AIH crossover with PBC or PSC, with generally good results.

If we can help more, please do get in touch...




Thanks! How can I have my mom get in touch with the foundation? Is this hard to do. I really appreciate everyone that responded.


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