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What is sulfasalazine and why is it prescribed?

Sulfasalazine is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

It modifies the disease process rather than simply treating the symptoms.

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How do I take sulfalsalazine and how long does it take to work?

Sulfasalazine is taken as tablets. Usually your doctor will start you on a low dose and gradually increase it.

It may be 12 weeks before you notice the benefit.

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What are the possible risks and side-effects of sulfasalazine?

Sulfasalazine can sometimes cause side-effects but most of these are not serious.

It may also affect your blood count or your liver but you'll have regular blood tests which will pick up any problems at an early stage.

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Can sulfasalazine affect other medications and treatments?

Sulfasalazine can be taken alongside other drugs but some may interact with it so check with your doctor before starting any new medications.

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Can I drink alcohol if I'm on sulfasalazine?

There's no particular reason to avoid alcohol while you're on sulfasalazine.

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Can sulfasalazine affect fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Sulfasalazine is considered safe to use if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.

In men, it may cause a temporary fall in the sperm count but this effect is reversed when treatment is stopped.

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