Generic Name: Sulfasalazine Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is sulfasalazine used for?

Sulfasalazine is used to reduce inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), and ulcerative colitis (UC).

How should I take sulfasalazine?

It should be taken with a full glass of water after meals or with food to minimize upset stomach.

How do I store sulfasalazine?

Sulfasalazine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store sulfasalazine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of sulfasalazine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush sulfasalazine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using sulfasalazine?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You have asthma.
  • You have problems with obstruction in your bowel or when urinating.
  • You have porphyria.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to sulfasalazine, sulfonamides, or salicylates like aspirin. Taking it again could be fatal.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Pregnancy

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category B, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Breastfeeding

Sulfasalazine may be passed through breast milk. This could cause side effects in your child. In a few cases, infants have bloody stools or diarrhea that go away once the mother stopped using sulfasalazine or stopped breastfeeding.

Side effects

What side effects can occur from sulfasalazine?

The most common side effects that occur with sulfasalazine include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach upset and pain
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Decreased sperm count
  • Dizziness

Mild side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away.

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency.

  • Symptoms of severe allergic reaction include:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Swelling of your throat or tongue
    • Hives
  • Symptoms of blood disorder or liver damage include:
    • Sore throat
    • Fever
    • Paleness
    • Purple spots on your skin
    • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • Symptoms of serious skin disorder include:
    • Flu
    • Painful red or purple rash
    • Blistering
    • Peeling skin
  • Symptoms of kidney damage include:
    • Difficulty urinating, making less urine, or not urinating at all

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with sulfasalazine?

Sulfasalazine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products may interact with this drug, including:

  • Folic acid
  • Digoxin
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug
  • Methotrexate

Does food or alcohol interact with sulfasalazine?

Sulfasalazine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with sulfasalazine?

Sulfasalazine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using sulfasalazine.

What is the dose of sulfasalazine for an adult?

  • For treating ulcerative colitis, adult doses range from 3000 mg to 4000 mg daily. Treatment may be started at 1000 to 2000 mg daily to reduce stomach upset.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is treated with 2000 to 3000 mg daily. Treatment may be started with 500 to 1000 mg daily.
  • Sulfasalazine is administered 3 to 4 times daily.

What is the dose of sulfasalazine for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients who are younger than 6 years old. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is sulfasalazine available?

Sulfasalazine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet 500mg
  • Tablet, Enteric Coated 500mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room. Using too much sulfasalazine may be harmful and cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Seizures

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of sulfasalazine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

Sources

Review Date: February 6, 2017 | Last Modified: February 6, 2017

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