sulfasalazine, Azulfidine (cont.)
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
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:
It should also be noted, however, that sulfasalazine may reduce sperm count and sperm function in men. These effects are reversible upon stopping the drug.
NURSING MOTHERS: Caution should be exercised by women who are nursing their infants. Sulfasalazine and its constituents are secreted into breast milk. There is a small risk that sulfapyridine (a byproduct of sulfasalazine) may displace bilirubin from albumen in the blood of infants and cause jaundice.
SIDE EFFECTS: Gastrointestinal disturbances frequently occur in patients taking sulfasalazine. Nausea, vomiting, gastric distress, and anorexia (loss of appetite) commonly occur. Sulfasalazine may cause the skin or the urine to change color. Development of an orange-yellow discoloration is no cause for concern.
Headache, allergic reactions, and photosensitivity (development of a rash when exposed to sunlight) may develop during sulfasalazine therapy and require medical attention. Some of the allergic reactions may progress from a rash to difficulty in swallowing, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, aching joints and muscles, and unusual tiredness or weakness. It may be accompanied by fever. The more severe allergic reactions are rare.
Several potentially dangerous side effects have been reported rarely with sulfasalazine. A drop in white blood cell count or a type of anemia in which red blood cells are disrupted (hemolyzed) may occur. These effects are characterized by fever, pale skin, sore throat, fatigue, and unusual bleeding and bruising, and require discontinuation of the drug. Liver failure, pancreatitis, and kidney failure also have been associated with sulfasalazine.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Last Editorial Review: 3/27/2009
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