Author: Anoma Ranaweera B.V. Sc; PhD (Clinical Biochemistry, University of Liverpool, UK), 2013.
Sulfasalazine is an anti-inflammatory medication consisting of a combination of 5-aminosalicylic acid and the sulphonamide sulfapyridine. Currently this drug is approved by the US FDA for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Sulfasalazine has also been used for some skin conditions.
Non-approved reported uses of sulfasalazine in dermatology include:
Common but harmless and transient adverse effects include:
Other rare but potentially serious adverse effects include:
As the dermatological indications are all off-label, treatment should only be started after receiving patient consent. Contraindications to its use are:
A pretreatment work-up should include:
The US FDA has classified sulfasalazine as Category B. The effect that sulfasalazine has on an unborn child has not been studied extensively. Sulfasalazine should only be used during pregnancy if clearly needed. Sulfasalazine does pass into breast milk, and could affect a nursing infant.
The Australian TGA has classified sulfasalazine as Category A. Category A medicines have been taken by a large number of pregnant women and women of childbearing age, without any proven increase in the frequency of malformations or other direct or indirect harmful effects on the fetus having been observed.
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