Sulfasalazine is used to treat a certain type of bowel disease called ulcerative colitis. This medication does not cure this condition, but it helps decrease symptoms such as fever, stomach pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. After an attack is treated, sulfasalazine is also used to increase the amount of time between attacks. This medication works by reducing irritation and swelling in the large intestines. In addition, delayed-release tablets of sulfasalazine are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Sulfasalazine helps to reduce joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with sulfasalazine helps to reduce/prevent further joint damage so you can do more of your normal daily activities. This medication is used with other drugs, rest, and physical therapy in patients who have not responded to other medications (salicylates, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs).
Take this medication by mouth after meals with a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) or as directed by your doctor. To prevent stomach upset, your doctor may recommend a slow increase in your dosage when starting treatment. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. In children, dosage is also based on weight. If you are taking the delayed-release tablets, swallow them whole. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablets. Doing so may increase the chance of stomach upset. Drink plenty of fluids during treatment with this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor. This will help prevent kidney stones. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens. For the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, it may take 1-3 months before you notice any improvement in your symptoms.
Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness, or unusual tiredness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. This medication may cause your skin and urine to turn orange-yellow. This effect is harmless and will disappear when the medication is stopped. Rarely, delayed-release tablets of sulfasalazine may appear whole or only partly dissolved in your stool. If this occurs, tell your doctor right away so your treatment can be changed. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. This medication may cause temporary male infertility. This effect is reversible when the medication is stopped. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: hearing changes (e.g., ringing in the ears), mental/mood changes, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine, painful urination, blood in the urine), new lump/growth in the neck (goiter), numbness/tingling of the hands/feet, signs of low blood sugar (e.g., hunger, cold sweat, blurred vision, weakness, fast heartbeat). This medication may rarely cause very serious allergic reactions (e.g., Stevens-Johnson syndrome), blood disorders (e.g., agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia), liver damage, nerve/muscle problems and infections. Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: skin rash/blisters/peeling, mouth sores, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, chest pain, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, persistent sore throat, cough), swollen lymph nodes, easy bruising/bleeding, severe tiredness, muscle pain/weakness (especially with fever and unusual tiredness), pale or blue skin/lips/nails, new/worsening joint pain, confusion, persistent/severe headache, unexplained neck stiffness, seizures, signs of liver problems (e.g., persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine). This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: digoxin, folic acid, methenamine, PABA taken by mouth. Sulfasalazine is very similar to mesalamine. Do not use mesalamine medications taken by mouth while using sulfasalazine. This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including urine normetanephrine levels), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe stomach/abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, extreme drowsiness, seizures.