Sulfazine

Name: Sulfazine

Uses of Sulfazine

Sulfasalazine is a prescription medication used:

  • in the treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, and as adjunctive therapy in severe ulcerative colitis; and
  • for the prolongation of the remission period between acute attacks of ulcerative colitis

​Sulfasalazine delayed-release is used to treat ulcerative colitis (as indicated above) as well as:

  • in the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have responded inadequately to salicylates or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; and
  • in the treatment of pediatric patients with polyarticular-course1 juvenile rheumatoid arthritis who have responded inadequately to salicylates or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Sulfazine Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • folic acid

This is not a complete list of sulfasalazine drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Sulfazine Precautions

Do not take this medication if:

  • you are allergic to sulfasalazine, its metabolites, sulfonamides or salicylates
  • you have intestinal or urinary obstruction (blockage)
  • you have porphyria (enzyme problems)

This medication may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. 

Sulfazine and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Sulfasalazine falls into category B. There are no well-done studies that have been done in humans with sulfasalazine. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.

There have been case reports of neural tube defects (NTDs) in infants born to mothers who were exposed to sulfasalazine during pregnancy, but the role of sulfasalazine in these defects has not been established. However, oral sulfasalazine inhibits the absorption and metabolism of folic acid which may interfere with folic acid supplementation and diminish the effect of periconceptional folic acid supplementation that has been shown to decrease the risk of NTDs.

Other Requirements

  • Store at room temperature between 15–30° C (59–86° F).
  • Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.

What is the most important information I should know about Sulfazine (sulfasalazine)?

You should not use sulfasalazine if you have porphyria, a blockage in your bladder or intestines, or if you are allergic to sulfa drugs, aspirin, or similar medicines called salicylates.

What should I avoid while taking Sulfazine (sulfasalazine)?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Azulfidine
  • Azulfidine Entabs
  • Sulfazine
  • Sulfazine EC

In Canada

  • alti-sulfaSALAzine
  • Salazopyrin

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Tablet
  • Tablet, Enteric Coated

Therapeutic Class: Gastrointestinal Agent

Chemical Class: Sulfonamide

Sulfazine Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Aching of joints
  • fever
  • headache (continuing)
  • increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
  • skin rash or itching
  • vomiting
Less common
  • Back, leg, or stomach pains
  • bleeding gums
  • bluish color of the fingernails, lips, skin, palms, or nail beds
  • chills
  • dark urine
  • difficulty breathing
  • fever
  • general body swelling
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • nosebleeds
  • pale skin
  • sore throat
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin
Less common or rare
  • Aching of muscles
  • black, tarry stools
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • bloating
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • bloody diarrhea
  • bluish fingernails, lips, or skin
  • chest pain
  • constipation
  • cough
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fainting spells
  • fast heartbeat
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • hives
  • indigestion
  • inflammation of the joints
  • irregular heartbeat
  • light-colored stools
  • muscle aches
  • muscle cramps or spasms
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rash
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • swollen or painful glands
  • tightness in the chest
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
Incidence not known
  • Large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain or upset
  • decreased weight
Less common
  • Welts
Less common or rare
  • Discoloration of the skin or urine
  • hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Summary

Common side effects of Sulfazine include: gastric distress, headache, nausea, oligospermia, vomiting, and anorexia. Other side effects include: fever. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

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