sulfasalazine, Azulfidine

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 500 mg. Suspension: 250 mg/5 ml.

STORAGE: The tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C -30 C (59 F- 86 F).

DOSING:

  • For treating ulcerative colitis, adult doses range from 3000 mg to 4000 mg daily. Treatment may be started at 1000 to 2000 mg daily to reduce stomach upset.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is treated with 2000 to 3000 mg daily. Treatment may be started with 500 to 1000 mg daily.
  • Sulfasalazine is administered 3 to 4 times daily. It should be taken with a full glass of water after meals or with food to minimize upset stomach.

Patients with kidney diseases may need to use lower doses of sulfasalazine.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Sulfasalazine may cause reduced absorption of folic acid and digoxin (Lanoxin). Reduced folic acid absorption may cause folic acid deficiency and result in anemia. Reduced digoxin absorption may reduce the effectiveness of digoxin. Sulfapyridine (a byproduct of sulfasalazine) is a sulfonamide, and sulfonamides increase blood levels of methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), resulting in increased methotrexate toxicity. Conversely, methotrexate can increase the occurrence of the anemia caused by sulfonamides because methotrexate also causes folic acid deficiency. Sulfonamides can increase the risk of kidney damage from cyclosporine by an unknown mechanism. They also may increase the blood glucose lowering effect of oral anti-diabetic drugs and potentially cause excessive reductions in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) by decreasing elimination of anti-diabetic drugs by the liver and elevating the levels of the anti-diabetic drugs in the blood.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/30/2014

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Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
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