Is It Safe to Mix Imuran and Alcohol?

Medically reviewed by Darren Hein, PharmD on October 25, 2016Written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on October 25, 2016

Introduction

Imuran is a prescription drug that affects your immune system. Some of the conditions it helps treat result from autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. In these diseases, your immune system attacks and damages parts of your own body. Imuran lowers your body’s immune system responses. This allows your body to heal and prevents further damage.

If you use Imuran for long-term treatment, you may wonder how this drug can affect your lifestyle, including how much alcohol you can drink safely. There are no specific warnings against drinking moderate amounts of alcohol while taking Imuran. Still, mixing the two can increase some of the adverse effects of this drug.

Imuran and alcohol

There are no specific warnings against drinking a moderate amount of alcohol while you take Imuran. That said, it’s important to understand what “a moderate amount of alcohol” means. A moderate amount of alcohol is no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks per day if you’re a man. The amount of alcohol in an alcoholic drink varies according to the type of drink.

Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of side effects from Imuran. Possible side effects include pancreatitis and liver damage. The risk of these side effects is low, but it increases with the more alcohol you drink and the more frequently you drink it.

You’re also at increased risk of infections while you take Imuran. And drinking large amounts of alcohol can make it even more difficult for your body to fight infections.

Learn more: What is pancreatitis? »

About Imuran

Imuran is a brand name for the drug azathioprine. This drug belongs to a class of drugs called immunosuppressants. Imuran works by suppressing your body’s immune system so that it doesn’t attack itself. In addition to treating certain autoimmune disorders, Imuran can also help prevent your body from rejecting a donor kidney if you have a kidney transplant.

Talk to your doctor

There are no specific recommendations against drinking alcohol while you take Imuran. However, that doesn’t mean that this combination will not have an effect on your body, especially if you drink more than two drinks per day.

If you’re considering drinking alcohol while you take Imuran, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor knows your health history, and they are the best person to help you make a good decision for you.

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