How effective is Sulfasalazine?

Hi, I was wondering if anyone has a success story taking Sulfasalazine only to manage RA? I have been taking it for 10 months and it has controlled my symptoms well but I have had pain and swelling in my wrists and foot for a few weeks now and I am hoping this is just a long flare rather than the disease getting worse. I don't want to start MTX as I find it rather scary and am hoping that Sulfasalazine will continue to work if and when things calm down.

19 Replies

  • I am on the same with Celebrex which is an anti-inflammatory drug. I also have. DEPO injections every three months I have found this is controlling my RA well.

  • Gosh sunflower depo every 3 months is a lot of steroids. Are you taking calcium supplements. If I needed a depo so regularly my Rheumy would see that as my treatment not adequate and add something new in.

    I would also ask about a bone density scan. I have one every 2 years.

  • Sorry I should have been more clear. I was on Cimzia injections I have had a very bad rare reaction to them I have pins and needles most of the time on GABAPENTIN for that. Depo injections every three months for about 18months then we will look at new bio treatments but right now I am not prepared to throw any other drugs at my body. This is not a long term treatment by any means. They have done MRI and lots of other tests and say my bone density is good. However nobody has mentioned taking calcium so I will call up My GP in the morning and ask about that. They have advised as many holidays to the sunshine as possible. Which seems a good plan to me hey. Thanks for your concern sorry I was not clear.

  • I had injections every 3 months, but now ive been given a month of Prednisolone steroids, im also on Sulfasalazineon but being put on MTX soon

  • Celebrex works well but my dr doesn't want me to take everyday because it can mess up kidneys i took celebrex today as nd still in pain. I am going to start to go in pool swimming

  • Hi I've just had to come off sulphasalazine after being on it for 18 months as I found that, after initial improvement, my symptoms got worse again. I'm about to start methotrexate and, like you, I'm nervous about it, but after weighing up the pros and cons I've decided to go ahead because I'm fed up with being in pain. In the meantime I'm bridging the gap with prednisolone (steroids) and they are calming things down slightly. Perhaps you should have a word with your doctor to refer you back to rheumatology for an update of your condition. Good luck.

  • I would have a chat with your rheumatology consultant or nurse. It is possible to increase the dose of sulphasalazine. Although 4 tablets a day is the standard dose it is possible to take 6 a day. I've been doing this for 5 years now. Also hydroxychloroquine can be taken along side it.

    I also take leflunomide with it but I assume if your scared of methotrexate you would prefer not to take this either.

    Please talk to your rheumy team as there are other options.


  • Hi there

    I took sulphasalazine successfully for 2 years then it stopped working so I went on mtx without any problems. That was in 1995! Not everyone has side effects with mtx. All drugs have side effects even paracetamol. You have a disease that needs treating.

    I know it's scary but it may be the drug for you.

    Good luck kikideelili x

  • Hi, I've been on sulfasalazine for about two months after failing on mtx and leflunomide due to side effects. I'm finding the sulfasalazine is not controlling my symptoms yet nearly as well as the mtx did. After reading Becky's advice I'll be speaking to my rheumy about trying an increased dose or adding in hydroxychloroquine. I know mtx sounds scary but agree with Kikideelili that its worth a try. You get closely monitored while on it and may find it works brilliantly for you x

  • Exactly the same thing happened to me. In the end I had to start on the MTX after a flare up, that was about April and so far so good. Try not to be frightened of it as they´ll keep you monitored. It may take a while to kick in but since taking it I´ve had absolutely no symptoms at all (hope I haven`t put the kybosh on it now!!) Good luck.

  • Hi. I've been on Sulfasalazine for 6 years now and it has been very effective at controlling the disease. I do get the occasional flare-up but nowhere near as painful and debilitating as they used to be. The only other drug I take alongside it is Naproxen. Speaking to other RA patients, it does seem to be a bit hit and miss and what works for one person, might not work for another; or what works for a while can stop working. I guess I've been lucky so far. I would mention it at your next appointment, or ask for an earlier one if the pain and swelling continue for much longer. Good luck.

  • I had bad experence on sulf made me worse and side effects were horrible and medtrexate after didt work so now im on biologic humeria its help alot but noks u about earley days yet

  • I hate the stuff! Made me really sick and made my RA worse so I was put on hydroxychloroquine instead. It totally depends on the person though. I was told it was very cheap and can sometimes be excellent in controlling RA but I would never recommend it as I remember the nights sat in the bathroom and the excruciating pain and illness. BUT for some people it is brill so I'd never advise anyone to give it up if it is working for them.

  • i was the same very ill on them just felt so sick all the time.It works for some people but not for me

  • I take 6 tablets day finding them very effective... Taken along side Celebrex which is an anti inflammatory drug. Plus the wonderful warm weather we are currently having is a big bonus

  • My rhumotologist he prefers if i dont take celebrex but my primary dr said to take when i am in alot of pain i have been in pain for about a yr now and seems like drs really dont care

  • I was on it for five years about ten years ago and it was like a miracle drug. I then was put on mtx as the sulphasalazine stopped working. However I eventually came off mtx as after 3 or4 years and also trying the injection form because of digestive problems..I hated it but I have to say it controlled the ra well along with Embrel also.

    I am now still on embrel and have now re introduced sulphasalazine as the two together work ok. Still not as good as the mtx but I'd prefer to control general pain with naproxen than feel yucky with the .mtx.

    I'd give sulphasalazine a go as it really is a good drug (as they all are) but it really is down to the individual. We are all different..well good luck TTx

  • I have been taking sulfazine for two months and i have no relieve my hands and feet hurt constantly

  • I am allergic to predisone

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