Sulfasalazine

Medication Information Leaflet

What is this medication for?

This medication can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This medication can also be used to treat various inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

How should I take/use this medication?

  • Do not stop taking your medication without checking with your healthcare professional.
  • This medication should be taken with or after food.
  • The tablets have a coating which helps reduce gastrointestinal side effects and should not be crushed or broken.
  • Take the medication with a full glass of water.
  • This medication may colour the urine or skin yellow or orange. This is not harmful.

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication. This includes a sulphur allergy or allergy to sulfur antibiotics / sulfonamides.
  • You have glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD). If you take this medication, there is a risk you may develop anaemia.
  • You have low white blood cell counts.
  • Inform your doctor if you have a history of liver or kidney disease.
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • Some soft contact lenses may be stained when using this medication.

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Common side effects of this medication include:

    • Gastrointestinal discomfort
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhoea
    • Muscle pain
    • Reduced appetite
    • Insomnia
    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Ringing in the ears
    • Itchiness
    • Cough

If symptoms persist or cause significant discomfort, please consult your healthcare professional.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

This medication may affect the blood particularly in the first few months of treatment. Report to your healthcare professional any unexplained bleeding, bruising, sore throat, fever or malaise that occur during treatment. You may be required to have your blood checked regularly while taking this medication.

This medication may affect the liver. Report to your healthcare professional signs of liver problems including persistent dark urine or light coloured stool with abdominal discomfort and nausea and vomiting and/or yellowing of the skin or eyes. Your healthcare professional will require you to have your blood checked at intervals to monitor your liver.

This medication may affect the kidney. Inform your healthcare professional if you are passing less or no urine or if there is blood in the urine.

In rare cases, serious skin reactions may occur with this medication such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. If you develop symptoms such as a red, swollen, peeling and/or a blistering rash, please consult your healthcare professional immediately.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication?

Inform your healthcare professional if you intend to take any medication over the counter.

How should I store this medication?

Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep this medication away from children.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.


Disclaimers
If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last reviewed on Jan 2021
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Sulfasalazine

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