Sulfasalazine is used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
This medicine may also be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation in the joints of fingers, wrist, feet, ankles). It helps to relieve the pain and inflammation commonly experienced by people with this disease.
Sulfasalazine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
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 this medicine together with food or immediately after a meal. Try to take it at the same time each day.
If you are taking the enteric-coated or delayed-release type of tablet (usually labelled as “EC”), swallow it whole. Do not divide, chew or crush the tablet.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your condition, and response to the medication.
Sulfasalazine must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine 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.
Do not take Sulfasalazine if you ever had an allergic reaction (e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to this medicine or any similar medicines such as sulfur-containing drugs and salicylates (e.g aspirin).
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- blocked bowel and urinary tract
- porphyria (an inherited disorder that causes skin or nervous system abnormalities)
as Sulfasalazine may not be suitable for you.
Do not give this medicine to children below 2 years old unless instructed to do so by the doctor.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- severe allergies
- blood disorders
- G6PD deficiency (an inherited blood disorder that affects the red blood cell)
- history of recurring or long-term infections
- liver disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to a child over 2 years old. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Do not wear soft contact lenses during therapy, as Sulfasalazine may permanently stain certain types of extended wear soft contact lenses.
Ensure adequate fluid intake while you are being treated with this medicine.
If you are going to have a certain laboratory test (e.g. test for urinary normetanephrine by liquid chromatography), inform your doctor that you are taking Sulfasalazine.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. complete blood count, urine test, liver and renal function) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring for signs of infection, and skin or other allergic reactions may also be needed.
Sulfasalazine may cause any of the following side effects: headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain or discomfort, indigestion, loss of appetite, joint pain, and difficulty sleeping.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
- frequent and persistent sore throat with fever, unusual bleeding or bruising
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark coloured urine, tiredness
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
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:
- medicines for cancer e.g. methotrexate, mercaptopurine
- digoxin (medicine for heart disease)
- azathioprine (medicine used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders)
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.