Chemical Class: Sulfonamide
Uses for sulfapyridine
Sulfapyridine is a sulfa medicine. It is used to help control dermatitis herpetiformis (Duhring's disease), a skin problem. It may also be used for other problems as determined by your doctor. However, sulfapyridine will not work for any kind of infection as other sulfa medicines do.
Sulfapyridine may cause some serious side effects. Before using sulfapyridine, be sure to talk to your doctor about these problems, as well as the good sulfapyridine will do.
Sulfapyridine was available only with your doctor's prescription.
In December 1990, the manufacturer discontinued marketing sulfapyridine.
Before using sulfapyridine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For sulfapyridine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to sulfapyridine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Use of sulfapyridine is not recommended since dermatitis herpetiformis usually does not occur in children.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing the use of sulfapyridine in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking sulfapyridine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using sulfapyridine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using sulfapyridine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using sulfapyridine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Aminolevulinic Acid
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of sulfapyridine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Blood problems or
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (lack of G6PD enzyme)—Patients with these problems may have an increase in side effects affecting the blood.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Patients with kidney disease or liver disease may have an increased chance of side effects.
- Porphyria—Use of sulfapyridine may cause an attack of porphyria.
Proper use of sulfapyridine
Each dose of sulfapyridine should be taken with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. Several additional glasses of water should be taken every day, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Drinking extra water will help to prevent some unwanted effects (e.g., kidney stones) of the sulfa medicine.
For patients taking sulfapyridine for dermatitis herpetiformis:
- Your doctor may want you to follow a strict, gluten-free diet.
- You may have to use sulfapyridine regularly for 6 months to a year before you can reduce the dose of sulfapyridine or stop it altogether. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
The dose of sulfapyridine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of sulfapyridine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For dermatitis herpetiformis:
- Adults and adolescents: 250 milligrams to 1 gram four times a day until improvement occurs. After improvement has occurred, the dose should then be reduced by 250 to 500 milligrams every three days until there are no symptoms; that dose should be taken once daily.
- Children: Use is not recommended, because children usually do not get this condition.
If you miss a dose of sulfapyridine, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
If your symptoms do return or get worse, take the missed dose as soon as possible. Then go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using sulfapyridine
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. Sulfapyridine may cause blood problems, especially if it is taken for a long time.
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Sulfapyridine may cause blood problems. These problems may result in a greater chance of certain infections, slow healing, and bleeding of the gums. Therefore, you should be careful when using regular toothbrushes, dental floss, and toothpicks. Dental work should be delayed until your blood counts have returned to normal. Check with your medical doctor or dentist if you have any questions about proper oral hygiene (mouth care) during treatment.
Sulfapyridine may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight than it is normally. Exposure to sunlight, even for brief periods of time, may cause a skin rash, itching, redness or other discoloration of the skin, or a severe sunburn. When you begin taking sulfapyridine:
- Stay out of direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M., if possible.
- Wear protective clothing, including a hat. Also, wear sunglasses.
- Apply a sun block product that has a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Some patients may require a product with a higher SPF number, especially if they have a fair complexion. If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.
- Apply a sun block lipstick that has an SPF of at least 15 to protect your lips.
- Do not use a sunlamp or tanning bed or booth.
You may still be more sensitive to sunlight or sunlamps for many months after stopping sulfapyridine. If you have a severe reaction from the sun, check with your doctor.
Tell the doctor in charge that you are taking sulfapyridine before you have any medical tests. The results of the bentiromide (e.g., Chymex) test for pancreas function are affected by sulfapyridine.
Sulfapyridine side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- headache (continuing)
- skin rash
- Aching of joints and muscles
- difficulty in swallowing
- pale skin
- redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of skin
- sore throat
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- yellow eyes or skin
- Blood in urine
- lower back pain
- pain or burning while urinating
- swelling of front part of neck
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- Increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.