Liver reaction to Azathioprine

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I started taking Azathioprine for my treatment for Crohn's in January. After only 3 weeks I became seriously Jaundinced and my liver function markers went through the roof. Conditions didn't improve once I stopped taking the medication either which suprised the doctors. Ended up in hospital and having a liver biopsy which concluded that the Azaphioprine was the cause of the liver poisoning. Came out of hospital yesterday and I'm basically waiting for the liver to repair itself!

My IBD consultant is now advising that I go onto Infiximab or Adalimubam. Does anyone have any experience of either of these and which one is best?


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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Carl

    I had a similar but less severe reaction to Azathioprine after 2 weeks. Felt very ill for about a week. Some weeks after I started 6-Mercaptopurine and all went well for 6 months until last week when my LFT markers were over 150.

    I am waiting to see what I am prescribed next after a 2nd colonoscopy.

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    • Posted

      Hi Pete.

      Sorry to hear about your reaction too. It's not nice when a medication which is supposed to be helping you does the opposite! 

      The consultants said that they wouldn't prescribe any immunosuppressants / 5ASAs after my reaction and were very keen to suggest biological drugs as opposed to chemical-based. 

      I hope your doctor is keeping a close eye on your LTF markers. Mine kept going up for 3 weeks after I stopped taking the medication. It's only started reducing in the last few days. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Carl I'll keep an eye on that. I have a follow up blood test on Monday  to hopefully see the markers dropping.

      I don't know much about the biological meds but will research them on here as that may be my progression also in view of reaction to immunosuppresants.

      Good luck 


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  • Posted

    Hi,  I am so sorry to hear of your problems with Azathioprine.  Everybody's reaction to drugs is completely different and with Crohns and Ulcerative Colitus they both seem to vary immensly.  My brother suffers the same as I do but he cannot take the same tablets as me.  I have been on Azathioprine for 4 years taking 200 mg per day.  I also take Pentasa.  Because I have been in remission for 4 years, and here I am touching wood as I type this, my Consultant has told me to leave just the Azathioprine off and see how I go.  This was in January and to date I am fine.  For the 4 years I have taken Azathioprine, I did not suffer any adverse effects.  It is just down to finding the tablets that suit you.  I wish you good luck and hope you and your Consultant can sort your problems out soon.
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear ,azathioprine gave my son pancreatitis ,after weeks in hospital doctors put him on infliximab .This has put him in remission and he is living a stable life .But one thing that happened was weight gain ,so exercise is important if your body allows it .Living a normal life is important so infliximab out points the cons.What side effects take place only life will tell but Crohn's disease is life time so take everyday as it comes . Good luck

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