What is the role of 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) and azathioprine (AZA) in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

Updated: Oct 17, 2017
  • Author: William A Rowe, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

The immunomodulators 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) and azathioprine (AZA) are used in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in whom remission is difficult to maintain with the aminosalicylates alone. Calcineurin inhibitors such as cyclosporine A (CSA) and tacrolimus, as well as methotrexate (MTX), are also immune-modifying agents [1] ; CSA is almost exclusively limited to acute severe colitis, whereas tacrolimus has been used in both perianal Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. [1]


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