Thiopurines (azathioprine and mercaptopurine) are one of the immunosuppressive mainstays for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. In spite of its widespread use, thiopurine metabolism is still not fully understood, and a significant proportion of patients suffer toxicity or lack of efficacy. Different enzymatic pathways with individual variations constitute a pharmacogenetic model that seems to be suitable for monitoring and therapeutic intervention. This review is focused on current concepts and recent research that may help clinicians to rationally optimise thiopurine treatment in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
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