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- What is salsalate, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for salsalate?
- Is salsalate available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for salsalate?
- What are the side effects of salsalate?
- What is the dosage for salsalate?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with salsalate?
- Is salsalate safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about salsalate?
What is salsalate, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Salsalate is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used for treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. Salsalate is converted in the body to salicylic acid which is its active form and is closely related to aspirin. Other NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Aleve) and several others. They work by reducing the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals produced by the body that are responsible for pain, fever, and inflammation. Salsalate blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain and fever are reduced. Salsalate is as strong as aspirin in reducing inflammation but has less effect on blood clotting than aspirin.
What brand names are available for salsalate?
Amigesic, Salflex, Argesic-SA, Marthritic, Salsitab, Artha-G
What are the side effects of salsalate?
Most patients benefit from salsalate and other NSAIDs with few side effects. However, serious side effects can occur and generally tend to be dose-related (are more common at higher doses). Therefore, it is advisable to use the lowest effective dose to minimize side effects. The most common side effects of salsalate involve the gastrointestinal system and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). It can cause ulcerations of the stomach and intestines, abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting, gastritis, and even serious gastrointestinal bleeding and liver toxicity. Sometimes, ulceration and bleeding may occur without any abdominal pain. Black tarry stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension) may be the only signs of internal bleeding. Patients who develop tinnitus may need to reduce the dose of salsalate. Rash, kidney impairment, vertigo, and lightheadedness also may occur. Fluid retention, blood clots, heart attacks, hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart failure also have been associated with the use of NSAIDs.
What is the dosage for salsalate?
The usual dose of salsalate is 3000 mg daily given over 2-4 doses. Salsalate should be taken with food to reduce stomach upset.
Which drugs or supplements interact with salsalate?
Salsalate, like aspirin, is converted to salicylic acid. Therefore, adding aspirin to salsalate can cause salicylic acid toxicity.
NSAIDs may reduce the blood pressure lowering effects of blood pressure medications. This may occur because prostaglandins play a role in the regulation (lowering) of blood pressure.
When NSAIDs are combined with methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) or aminoglycoside antibiotics (for example, gentamicin) the blood levels of methotrexate or aminoglycoside may increase, presumably because the elimination of methotrexate or aminoglycosides is reduced. This may lead to more side effects from methotrexate or aminoglycosides.
Persons who have more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day may be at increased risk of developing stomach ulcers when taking NSAIDs.
Is salsalate safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of salsalate in pregnant women.
Salicylic acid appears in breast milk at levels close to maternal blood levels. This may cause adverse effects in the infant. Nursing women should avoid nursing while taking salsalate or use alternate drugs.
What else should I know about salsalate?
What preparations of salsalate are available?
Tablets: 500 and 750 mg
How should I keep salsalate stored?
Salsalate should be stored at room temperature, 15 C (59 F - 86 F).
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Salsalate (Amigesic, Salflex, Argesic-SA, Marthritic, Salsitab, Artha-GDisalcid, Amigesic, Disalcid) is a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medication (NSAIDs) used for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also prescribed for the treatment of inflammation and pain as a result from soft tissue injuries, bursitis, and tendinitis. Side effects, warnings and precautions, drug interactions, and safety during pregnancy should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Related Disease Conditions
Ankle Pain (Tendinitis)
Ankle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within 24 hours) to severe (which can require surgical repair). Tendinitis of the ankle can be caused by trauma or inflammation.
Bursitis of the hip results when the fluid-filled sac (bursa) near the hip becomes inflamed due to localized soft tissue trauma or strain. Symptoms include stiffness and pain around the hip joint. If the hip bursa is not infected, hip bursitis can be treated with ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
Bursitis of the knee results when any of the three fluid-filled sacs (bursae) become inflamed due to injury or strain. Symptoms include pain, swelling, warmth, tenderness, and redness. Treatment of knee bursitis depends on whether infection is involved. If the knee bursa is not infected, knee bursitis may be treated with ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
Shoulder bursitis is inflammation of the shoulder bursa. Bursitis may be caused by injury, infection, or a rheumatic condition. Symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, and pain with movement of the shoulder joint. Treatment may involve ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications and depends on whether there is an infection.
Acute injuries, medical conditions, and chronic use conditions are causes of knee pain. Symptoms and signs that accompany knee pain include redness, swelling, difficulty walking, and locking of the knee. To diagnose knee pain, a physician will perform a physical exam and also may order X-rays, arthrocentesis, blood tests, or a CT scan or MRI. Treatment of knee pain depends upon the cause of the pain.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Ulcers
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed medications for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and more. One common side effect of NSAIDs is peptic ulcer (ulcers of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum). Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking NSAIDs.
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also known as degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis can be caused by aging, heredity, and injury from trauma or disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. The 16 characteristic early RA signs and symptoms include the following. Anemia Both sides of the body affected (symmetric) Depression Fatigue Fever Joint deformity Joint pain Joint redness Joint stiffness Joint swelling Joint tenderness Joint warmth Limping Loss of joint function Loss of joint range of motion Many joints affected (polyarthritis)
Arthritis (Joint Inflammation)
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
A bursa is a fluid-filled sac found in the joints that cushions them. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae, most commonly caused by repetitive motion. Bursitis can be caused by a bacterial infection and should be treated with antibiotics. Doctors also recommend icing and resting the joint.
Foot pain may be caused by injuries (sprains, strains, bruises, and fractures), diseases (diabetes, Hansen disease, and gout), viruses, fungi, and bacteria (plantar warts and athlete's foot), or even ingrown toenails. Pain and tenderness may be accompanied by joint looseness, swelling, weakness, discoloration, and loss of function. Minor foot pain can usually be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation and OTC medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Severe pain should be treated by a medical professional.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information