What is Sulfasalazine and What is it Used For?

Sulfasalazine consists of sulfapyridine and mesalamine (the active ingredient) bound together. The bacteria in the colon release mesalamine in the colon where it reduces inflammation. Sulfasalazine is mainly used for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s colitis because it releases in the colon.

What Do I Need to Know Before Taking Sulfasalazine?

  • Sulfasalazine should be taken at evenly spaced times during the day. It can be taken with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • You may crush the regular tablet (but not the enteric-coated tablet).
  • You should not take this drug if you have had a reaction to sulfa drugs or aspirin before.
  • Avoid being in the sun for along time, and wear sunblock.
  • Take folic acid when you are taking sulfasalazine because sulfasalazine reduces folic acid in the body.

What Are the Food and Drug Interactions?

Sulfasalazine may increase the effects of alcohol.

Are There Any Drug Interactions with Sulfasalazine?

Sulfasalazine may increase or decrease the effects of the following medicines:

  • Birth control pills
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Methotrexate
  • Digoxin
  • Coumadin
  • Anti-diabetic agents

Is It Safe to Take Sulfasalazine for Long Periods of Time?

Long-term use of mesalamine is generally safe, but your doctor must supervise and monitor you.

What Are the Side Effects?


  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Orange color in urine


  • Sore throat
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Bloody urine
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Severe skin reaction
  • Bleeding/bruising
  • Yellow coloring of skin/eyes
  • Decreased sperm count

Rev. 11/2013

This document is intended to provide health related information so that you may be better informed. It is not a substitute for a doctor's medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions. Please read your prescription label for additional drug information.