Azathioprine in inflammatory bowel disease.


  • Sílvia Leite Serviço de Gastrenterologia, Centro Hospitalar do Alto Ave, Guimarães.
  • José Manuel Ribeiro
  • Salomé C Lima
  • Sónia Barroso
  • José Cotter



Characterisation of an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) population treated with azathioprine (AZA) and evaluation of AZA safety and efficacy.Retrospective analysis of IBD patients attending our Gastroenterology department in a six months period. Results: In 137 IBD patients, 30 began AZA treatment; 18 Crohn's disease (CD) and 12 ulcerative colitis (UC). Mean time of treatment was 3.2 years. The reason for treatment was: 76.6% steroid dependent or steroid refractory (SD/SR) disease, 10% prevention of postoperative recurrence in CD, 10% fistulising CD and 3.3% extra intestinal manifestation. Adverse events occurred in 33.3% patients, requiring discontinuation of treatment in 13.3%. Clinical remission rate was 75% in the 28 patients that completed six months treatment (p equal 0.0013): 76.5% for SD/SR disease; 100% for prevention of postoperative recurrence and extra intestinal manifestation; 0% for fistulising CD. The proportion of patients remaining in remission at 12, 24, 36 and 48 months treatment were 87.5% (p lower 0,001), 46.7%, 45.5% e 14.3% (p higher 0,05), respectively.Azathioprine can be considered safe in a long term treatment and showed efficacy in induction and maintaining of remission at 12 months.


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How to Cite

Leite S, Ribeiro JM, Lima SC, Barroso S, Cotter J. Azathioprine in inflammatory bowel disease. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2009 Feb. 27 [cited 2022 Dec. 7];22(1):33-40. Available from:



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