sulindac, Clinoril

  • 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.

What is sulindac, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Sulindac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used for treating pain, fever, and inflammation. Other NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen) as well as others. They work by reducing the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals that are produced by the body and are responsible for pain, fever, and inflammation. Sulindac blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain and fever are reduced. Sulindac was approved by the FDA in September 1978.

What brand names are available for sulindac?

Clinoril

Is sulindac available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for sulindac?

Yes

What are the side effects of sulindac?

Most patients benefit from sulindac and other NSAIDs with few side effects. However, serious side effects can occur and generally tend to be dose related, that is, they occur more frequently with higher doses. Therefore, it is advisable to use the lowest effective dose to minimize side effects.

The most common side effects of sulindac involve the gastrointestinal system, and these are:

  • ulcerations of the stomach and small intestine,
  • abdominal pain,
  • cramping,
  • nausea,
  • gastritis,
  • serious gastrointestinal bleeding, and
  • liver toxicity.

Sometimes, ulceration of the stomach and bleeding can occur without any abdominal pain, and black tarry stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension) may be the only signs of internal bleeding.

Other important side effects include:

Sulindac should be avoided by patients with a history of exacerbation of asthma, hives, or other allergic reactions to aspirin or other NSAIDs. Rare but severe allergic reactions have been reported in such individuals. It also should be avoided by patients with peptic ulcer disease or poor kidney function, since this medication can aggravate both conditions. Fluid retention, blood clots, heart attacks, hypertension, and heart failure have also been associated with the use of NSAIDs such as sulindac.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/14/2015

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