A Rash with Sulfasalazine

Hi Fellow RA sufferers, after 7 months of taking Sulfasalazine I've had to stop due to a nasty rash & terrible itching on my arms lower legs & back. Saw GP who suggested that this was the cause recommended I stopped taking the medication & gave me a course of antihistamine contacted my Rheumy who agreed with the course of action. This left me now with only on tablet of Hydroxychloroquine daily of which I've only started taking 4 weeks ago needless to say that my hands, feet & shoulders all became swollen, fingers like sausages & the pain you will all know about. Well the rash went & the itching stopped what to do now, went back to GP who has given me Naproxen to reduce the inflammation & Omeprazole stop any tummy problems my Rheumy has increased the Hydroxychloroquine to 2 tablets (400mg) daily but I can report that after 2 weeks without seeing my knuckles on my right hand & 2 days with the renewed medication I can now see my knuckles again & the pain has decreased so hopefully fingers crossed things should be on the up.

15 Replies

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  • Hi Whiskers, this happened to me when I was taking Sulphasalazine and Voltarol, both were stopped immediately. As it was my GP who stopped them I was left high and dry and just in paracetamol till I saw my Rheumy again. I was then put on to Methotrexate and was okay with that for a while. I'm now on Enbrel and, for me, it's great!

    After an op I was put on Naproxen for pain and inflammation around the op site and find it a really effective drug. It is my fall-back med if I'm having a bad time though these are fewer now I'm on Enbrel. I'm glad naproxen works for you, long may it do so.

    Luv, Legs x

  • Many Thanks x

  • Glad to hear you're on the mend - can you really cross your fingers?

  • Nearly,well halfway,Ha!Ha!

  • Glad to hear you're on the up again. Even at the darkest moments, there is always the knowledge that it will get better. Long may it continue.

  • I ended up in hospital with a Sulfasalazine rash. I was terrified about mtx but am fine on 10mg plus 2 Hyrdroxy/day. Have you asked about Prednisalone temporarily to reduce your symptoms until a new medication takes effect?

  • Hi Raggedy3, thanks for your reply & yes I had asked for some prednisalpne but as I had had 2 one month of tablets previously my Rheumy wouldn't give them to me this time. Things do seem to be improving slowly though. Thanks again,stay well. Whiskers64.

  • Really surprised you havent been offered steroid injection to keep you going. its really fantastic. maybe you can suggest it.

    Sulfasalazine burnt my skin after only 8 tablets. my reaction was very severe. its now 8 weeks since the rash started and I am still being treated with anti his 3 x daily they are fexofenadine plus 5 pred daily. rsdh still itches but is calming dow at last. It has been shear hell going through this..How I hate having to take these drugs but what choice do we have. onwards and upwards.

  • The more I read Fellow sufferers posts concerning problems with Sulfasalazine I realise that the reports I read that 30% of people that take it suffer with a rashes & itching & I thought it was only me. It proves that this site works where we all can learn something from Fellow sufferers & not feel alone. Thanks again to you all that replied.

  • Yep, me aswell, nasty itchy little rash on both forearms, hope it doesn't get worse, doc says keep taking tabs unless it worsens, watch this space!

  • I too suffered with a rash on sulfasalazine, the itching drove me mad! I'm now on methotrexate, Hydroxychloroquine, naproxen , omeprazole & recently started on Benepali injections. Going well so far! X

  • Benapali injections is my next lot of drugs. But I have to be in a flare up to prove that I need them. how mad is that. I will be seen on emergency appointment at Rhumy Clinic then given steroid injection to calm flare up and they will start me on the drug. NICE guidlines consultant tells ots out of his control.

  • Yes, I was the same , I had to have a flare up to be assessed for benepali, you have to score so many painful joints! I then had a steroid injection which this time worked well. I've now had 2 benepali injections & probably not noticed any change because the steroids still working? I'm just so pleased that the terrible debilitating pain I had has virtually gone! Hope you get sorted soon!! X

  • I have been told to stop taking Sulphersalazine by my Rheumy & my rash & itching has cleared up. Hopefully yours will improve I was given Antihistamine by my Doctor to help with the continuous itching so both treatments together worked for me. Good luck to you too.

  • I am still itchy after 8 weeks stopped Sulfasalazine. It's been so bad I still need 3 Anti hist daily.

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