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Azulfidine

Generic Name: sulfasalazine (SUL fa SAL a zeen)
Brand Name: Azulfidine, Azulfidine EN-tabs, Sulfazine

Medically reviewed on November 13, 2017

What is Azulfidine?

Azulfidine affects a substance in the body that causes inflammation, tissue damage, and diarrhea.

Azulfidine is used to treat moderate to severe ulcerative colitis.

Azulfidine is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in children and adults who have used other arthritis medicines without successful treatment of symptoms.

Azulfidine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use Azulfidine if you have porphyria, a blockage in your bladder or intestines, or if you are allergic to sulfa drugs, aspirin, or similar medicines called salicylates.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Azulfidine if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

To make sure Azulfidine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease, or a history of kidney stones;

  • a genetic enzyme deficiency called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency;

  • a blood cell disorder;

  • weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine);

  • heart disease;

  • asthma; or

  • history of chronic infections.

FDA pregnancy category B. Azulfidine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. However, you may need to take folic acid supplements if you take this medicine during pregnancy. Follow your doctor's instructions. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Sulfasalazine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Azulfidine should not be given to a child younger than 2 years old.

How should I take Azulfidine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take Azulfidine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Azulfidine can weaken your immune system. Your blood may need to be tested often.

This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Azulfidine.

Take this medicine after a meal.

Do not crush, chew, or break an enteric coated pill. Swallow it whole. The pill has a special coating to protect your stomach. Breaking the pill will damage this coating.

For best results, keep using this medicine as directed. Azulfidine will not cure ulcerative colitis, but it can reduce the number of attacks you have.

If you are treating arthritis, do not stop using any of your other arthritis medicines until your doctor tells you to. Your symptoms may not improve right away when you start taking Azulfidine, and you may still need your other medicines for awhile.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Azulfidine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Azulfidine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with Azulfidine. Stop using Azulfidine and call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

  • sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, cold or flu symptoms;

  • sore throat, cough, trouble breathing;

  • stabbing chest pain, cough with yellow or green mucus, wheezing;

  • pain when swallowing, painful mouth sores, red or swollen gums;

  • rapid heart rate, rapid and shallow breathing, fainting;

  • skin sores, pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding; or

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe nausea or vomiting when you first start taking Azulfidine;

  • the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild;

  • signs of a kidney problem--little or no urinating; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath; or

  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Azulfidine?

Other drugs may interact with sulfasalazine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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