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Sulfasalazine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: sulfasalazine (SUL-fa-SAL-a-zeen)
Brand Name: Azulfidine

Sulfasalazine is used for:

Treating ulcerative colitis. It is also used to increase the time between attacks of ulcerative colitis. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Sulfasalazine is a salicylate. It decreases inflammation. Exactly how it works to treat ulcerative colitis is not known.

Do NOT use sulfasalazine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in sulfasalazine
  • you are allergic to salicylates (eg, aspirin) or sulfonamide (eg, sulfamethoxazole)
  • you have the blood disorder porphyria or a stomach, bowel, or urinary tract blockage

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using sulfasalazine:

Some medical conditions may interact with sulfasalazine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have liver or kidney problems, asthma, severe allergies, blood problems (eg, anemia, low white blood cell levels), thyroid problems, or rheumatoid arthritis
  • if you have glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
  • if you have an infection (eg, strep throat), an infection that keeps coming back, or a history of infections

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with sulfasalazine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) or methotrexate because the risk of their side effects may be increased by sulfasalazine
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), digoxin, or folic acid because their effectiveness may be decreased by sulfasalazine
  • Methenamine because the risk of crystals in the urine may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if sulfasalazine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use sulfasalazine:

Use sulfasalazine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take sulfasalazine by mouth after meals.
  • Take sulfasalazine with a full glass of water (8 oz [240 mL]).
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking sulfasalazine is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • Space your doses evenly over the hours you are awake. If possible, try not to space your doses more than 8 hours apart.
  • Take sulfasalazine on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it.
  • Continue to take sulfasalazine even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of sulfasalazine, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use sulfasalazine.

Important safety information:

  • Sulfasalazine may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use sulfasalazine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Sulfasalazine may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to sulfasalazine. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Sulfasalazine may discolor the urine or skin to an orange-yellow color. This is normal and not a cause for concern.
  • A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
  • Severe and sometimes fatal allergic reactions, infections, heart problems, kidney problems, liver problems, lung problems, blood problems, and permanent nerve or muscle problems have happened in patients taking sulfasalazine. Talk with your doctor for more information.
  • Some men taking sulfasalazine have developed a decreased number of sperm and infertility. These effects usually went away after sulfasalazine was stopped. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Diabetes patients - Sulfasalazine may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Sulfasalazine may interfere with certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking sulfasalazine.
  • LAB TESTS, including liver function, kidney function, complete blood cell counts, or urine tests, may be performed while you use sulfasalazine. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use sulfasalazine with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Sulfasalazine should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using sulfasalazine while you are pregnant. Sulfasalazine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use sulfasalazine, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of sulfasalazine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Headache; loss of appetite; mild stomach upset or pain; nausea; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); bloody diarrhea; bluish discoloration of the skin or nails; chest pain; decreased urination; hearing loss; irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes; muscle pain; numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness, drowsiness, headache, or trouble sleeping; severe or persistent stomach pain; shortness of breath; swelling or soreness of the mouth or tongue; swollen glands; symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, cough, or sore throat; difficult or painful urination); symptoms of liver problems (eg, yellowing if the skin or eyes, dark urine, pale stools, severe or persistent nausea or vomiting, persistent loss of appetite); trouble walking; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; unusually pale skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of sulfasalazine:

Store sulfasalazine at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep sulfasalazine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about sulfasalazine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Sulfasalazine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take sulfasalazine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about sulfasalazine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to sulfasalazine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using sulfasalazine.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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