Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine, often referred to as thiopurine compounds, are commonly used in the management of inflammatory bowel disease. However, patients receiving these drugs are prone to developing adverse drug reactions or therapeutic resistance. Achieving predefined levels of two major thiopurine metabolites, 6-thioguanine nucleotides and 6-methylmercaptopurine, is a long-standing clinical practice in ensuring therapeutic efficacy; however, their correlation with treatment response is sometimes unclear. Various genetic markers have also been used to aid the identification of patients who are thiopurine-sensitive or refractory. The recent discovery of novel Asian-specific DNA variants, namely those in the NUDT15 gene, and their link to thiopurine toxicity, have led clinicians and scientists to revisit the utility of Caucasian biomarkers for Asian individuals with inflammatory bowel disease. In this review, we explore the limitations associated with the current methods used for therapeutic monitoring of thiopurine metabolites and how the recent discovery of ethnicity-specific genetic markers can complement thiopurine metabolites measurement in formulating a strategy for more accurate prediction of thiopurine response. We also discuss the challenges in thiopurine therapy, alongside the current strategies used in patients with reduced thiopurine response. The review is concluded with suggestions for future work aiming at using a more comprehensive approach to optimize the efficacy of thiopurine compounds in inflammatory bowel disease.