Sulfasalazine is the DMARD, disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug. It is used in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, arthritis related to the inflammatory bowel diseases). It consists of the two compounds, a salicylate and a sulfa compound.

Sulfasalazine is available in 500 mg tablets. Its dose ranges from 1 to 2 grams a day and is given twice daily.

People who has an allergy to sulfa medications or aspirin should not take it.

Sulfasalazine starts working slowly. Its effect can be felt after taking it for 6-12 weeks.

Most medications used in rheumatology can be given safely with sulfasalazine.

Common side effects of sulfasalazine include:

  • nausea (can be decreased by taking it with food), diarrhea;
  • headaches and mild dizziness;
  • rash.

Rare side effects are:

  • sensitivity to sun;
  • elevation of the liver enzimes and decrease of the blood counts (this is why it is important to have regular blood tests);
  • kidney dysfunction;
  • rarely it can cause a decreased sperm production (reverses when the medication is stopped).

Sulfasalazine is safe to be taken in pregnancy but notify your doctor if you became pregnant.

Your pharmacist will give you the full list of the side effects when you buy the medication. Please, advise your pharmacist about other medications you take.