Sulfasalazine is used to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. These diseases cause inflammation in the digestive tract (bowel) and are also known as "inflammatory bowel diseases".
Sulfasalazine is also used to treat other inflammatory illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints), where it helps to reduce the inflammation and pain commonly experienced by people with this disease.
Take Sulfasalazine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take Sulfasalazine together with food or immediately after a meal. If you are taking the enteric coated/ delayed-release tablets swallow it whole, do not crush or chew them. Try to take it the same time each day.
Drink lots of water (about 6-8 cups everyday) while you are being treated with Sulfasalazine, unless your doctor has specifically told you not to do so. Drinking enough water will help to protect your kidneys against some of the effects of Sulfasalazine.
Sulfasalazine must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking Sulfasalazine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- allergy to medicines similar to Sulfasalazine, such as salicylates (e.g. aspirin or sulfur-containing drugs)
- urinary and bowel blockage
- porphyria (an inherited disorder that may cause skin or nerve problems)
as Sulfasalazine may not be suitable for you.
Do not give Sulfasalazine to children below 2 years old.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- blood disorders
- inherited blood condition known as G6PD deficiency
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Sulfasalazine can sometimes reduce fertility in men -- this is reversible when Sulfasalazine is stopped. Men who plan to have children should inform their doctor.
You may need to have regular blood tests to make sure that your blood counts, kidney and liver function are normal while you are being treated with Sulfasalazine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these blood tests.
Sulfasalazine may cause any of the following side effects: headache, dizziness, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, loss of appetite, depression, insomnia, skin rash and fever.
Avoid direct or prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Some side effects may be serious, although they are not common. Inform your doctor immediately if you experience:
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes
- persistent diarrhoea and abdominal pain or cramps
- difficulty breathing
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- yellowing of the skin or eyes with abdominal pain
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicine for heart disease e.g. digoxin
- medicine to treat TB (lung infection known as tuberculosis) e.g. rifampicin
- medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. azathioprine, mercaptopurine, methotrexate
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Sulfasalazine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.