Has Anyone Had Luck With Sulphasalazine?

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Audrey Ann
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 815
   Posted 1/1/2009 3:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Happy New Year everyone!  My rhuemy just put me on Sulphasalalzine to help me go off of prednisone.  I haven't been able to stop the prednisone after two years straight and, also, after about 18 months of pred shortly before that.  So, three and a half years of pred with a 6 month break and she wants me off pred as soon as possible.  It is easy to really need pred since it really helps my pain and inflammation problems from my RA and/or lupus issues.
 
I have taken the sulphasalalzine for three days now and it is supposed to take a few months to help.  Has anyone tried this drug before?  I also take plaquenil and arava.  I had also been on methotrexate injections but they seemed to stop working so my rhuemy changed me to arava.  Additionally, I take celebrex for my NSAID and methadone for pain in my joints and from my frequent kidney stones. 
 
Recently, I have been really losing a lot of hair and my rheumy thinks it is from taking plaquenil for over four years now.  In addition, the medication combination has really played havoc with my stomach and I really cannot eat very well since everything upsets my stomach now.  I have reduced my caffiene intake this week (I started a new job last August and I have really been addicted to caffiene lately!) and this seems to be helping.
 
Any help or information is greatly appreciated!
 
Audrey
Prayers,
Audrey Ann
Lupus, RA, and (Maybe) Fibromyalgia and LOTS of Medications!
 


 


Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 1/1/2009 4:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Audrey,
 
I'm a little surprised you were prescribed this.  Lupus usually doesn't react well with Sulpha based drugs.  We're actually supposed to avoid them!  But hey, I'm no doctor!  So your rheumy must have special reasons to use this medication.
 
You might not find many members here that have tried this medication. If you're feeling iffy about it, I'd ask your doctor why he/she prescribed it when Lupins aren't supposed to take it. I was told that we need to treat sulpha based drugs as though we have an allergy to them.  I have it in my chart!
 
Have you ever tried Azathioprine (Imuran)? It's an immune suppressant. Works well for most people and it's standard treatment for RA. It's been a great med for me.
 
I hope this helps and hasn't made you freak out!  Hehe... That was not my intent at all, but to give you some information to mull over!  Let's see if anyone has actually tried this medication. I'll be curious to know too!
 
 
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with Lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, Anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke, 2002), Sjogren's, Raynaud's, Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck), anxiety. Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, Didrocal, Cozaar, Zoloft, Neurontin, calcium, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus
 
Moderator for the Lupus and Fibromyalgia forums


Melissa D.
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 342
   Posted 1/1/2009 7:52 PM (GMT -7)   

Ginny,

I too was surprised to see a doctor would prescribe this drug to a lupus patient. When I looked it up on the Mayo website it says Sulphasalazine is a sulfa based (of course) drug used to treat patients with RA. I hesitated to post, but everything I have read states that anyone with lupus should avoid sulfa based drugs like the plaque. There is quite a bit of information on the LFA website as well, I'm adding the link here for anyone who wishes to read. http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_empty.aspx?cx=016941646516273541596%3Aivv9xkjkidg&cof=FORID%3A11&q=sulfa+based+drugs#1001

Melissa


Lupus - 1997   Fibro - 2001    Sjorens  -  2007   Raynauds  -  2008
Plaquenil, Imuran, Prednisone, Synthroid, Topomax, Effexor, Norco, Prilsec, Xanex, Elidel, Restasis


elcamino
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 1744
   Posted 1/2/2009 7:52 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Audrey,

I was prescribed this drug, but for RA/potential IBD, not for SLE.  As others have pointed out, it is quite common to have a reaction to this drug because of the sulfa base.  I had a horrible reaction, although it doesn't appear right away.  I was taking it for 5 weeks before it dropped my platelets way low (dangerously low) and caused a rash from head to toe.  My rheumy took me off it immediately and told me to avoid all sulfa drugs from here on out.  He kind of put me on it because I think for insurance reasons I had to fail a traditional DMARD for RA before he could put me on a biologic, and at the time I did not want to take methotrexate.  this drug has helped many  people, though, so it may do wonders for you.  Everyone is different, I would just recommend that you follow up with your doctor routinely, and take your blood work seriously, as this drug is infamous for dropping blood counts.

Best,

El


Current dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Suspected dx: UCTD/Early Lupus
Current Meds: Enbrel, Plaquenil, Methotrexate, nexium, tramadol, nasonex,Tylenol PM
Past Meds: Relafen, Vioxx, Mobic, Voltaren, Sulfasalazine, Entocort, Prednisone, Humira, Reglan, zyrtec, zegerid, aciphex


Serina
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 431
   Posted 1/2/2009 8:43 AM (GMT -7)   

I have it in my own record that I am allergic to sulpha drugs.  I tried to take them for a kidney infection, but they make me sick, makes me have nausea, dizziness, and woozy.

So I best add this to my list of things to ake to the Rheumy.

Hope the day will be good to you
Hester
Lupus diagnosed 1996, Fibromyalgia diagnosed 1996, Heart by-pass 1998, breast cancer 2000, stroke2002, vascular surgery 2005, heart attack in 2007, and had a stint put in, Sjogren's Syndrome 2008, Stroke 11-4-08
 
******
aspirin, multivitamin, Arthrotec , Meclazine ,  plaquinil, Metoclopomide, Doxepin , Metoprolol, synthroid,  Amlodipine, Crestor, Lasinopril, Plavix, phenagrin,  Restasis  


hippimom2
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 5403
   Posted 1/2/2009 9:17 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm on board with everyone else and was surprised to see you were given a sulfa based drug. I looked it up because I didn't know much about it and it looks like it is given mostly for ulcerative colitis and RA that doesn't respond well to other meds.

I hope you respond to the new meds okay and that you do okay off of the prednisone. Keep us updated on how things are going. Take care
Diagnosis:  UCTD (lupus) 2006; Raynauds 2006; Sjogren's 2006; lupus symptoms began 2003; UC 2008; CFS 1991; Mono 1985
Meds:  Plaquenil 400mg; Prednisone 5-10mg; Tramadol 100mg 3-4x daily; Doxepin 25-50mg; Prevacid; Evoxac; Steriod Cream and Mouth Rinse for tongue and mouth ulcers; Hydrocodone 5/500 prn for severe pain; Artificial tears

 

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Audrey Ann
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 815
   Posted 1/2/2009 6:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much, everyone, for your quick response to my questions! I think I understand now why I haven't heard of this med very much from this group. In my research on this it says that about 30% of lupus patients are allergic or have negative results from sulpha drugs. It is considered a DMARD and I am thinking my rhuemy has to go through all the basic DMARD's before putting me on the more expensive biologics like el suggests.

My rheumy has had me on methotrexate injections in the past (for about 18 months) and they basically stopped working. That seems to be the story of my life with this disease. I have not had any allergic reactions to sulpha-based medications and my nephrologist has me on some sulpha meds at times due to my kidney infections and frequent stones. I also take a thiazide diuretic for high blood pressure (as prescribed by my kidney specialist) for my kidney problem called Dent's Disease. My rhuemy is watching me closely and I will see her every four weeks for now so she can see how I am doing. She seems to be focusing on my RA issues and has suspicions that I might be in the early stages of ulcerative colitus.

My family doctor says I have multi system health issues and that I really have them all stumped. (Don't we all stump them with this disease?) The three of them decided on this approach for now (rhuemy, nephrologist, and family doc) to see how I react. I have a standing blood work order each month and they all see the results. The physicians on my team all work together on my case - thank goodness.

I only had one time where I had a terrible rash on my skin - all over - and it was very itchy and I welted up whenever I was in the sun. This was six years ago when I was first suspected to have lupus or RA. I have not had anything like it since then - I sure hope this medication doesn't cause it return! I will try not to freak out, Ginny - YIKES!

Thanks so much, everyone, for your sharing. I started taking 4 mg of prednisone this week and I seem to be fine. Right now I am also starting the sulphasalazine slowly. I am taking one tablet twice a day and will move up to two tablets twice day next week. Has anyone had success with this medication?

Audrey
Prayers,
Audrey Ann
Lupus, RA, and (Maybe) Fibromyalgia and LOTS of Medications!
 


 


Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 1/2/2009 7:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Audrey,
 
Thanks for explaining why!  I'm glad they'll be monitoring you closely with this medication.  It sounds like you're in good hands!
 
Happy new year to you as well!
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with Lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, Anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke, 2002), Sjogren's, Raynaud's, Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck), anxiety. Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, Didrocal, Cozaar, Zoloft, Neurontin, calcium, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus
 
Moderator for the Lupus and Fibromyalgia forums


FW
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 1/2/2009 9:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Audrey,

Hope all is going well. Just wanted to mention that my son is on sulphasalazine for psoriatic arthritis. It took a few months to really make a difference. One thing he found out the hard way, it really increased his sun sensitivity. He was already careful about being in the sun, but now, just a few minutes can make him really sick (nausea, rash, fever, etc.). You probably already knew that - but I thought I'd mention it.

Good Luck!
Take care,
Fran

Dx: Lupus, sjogren's, celiac, severe allergies.
Daily Meds: Plaquenil, Zyrtec. Aciphex, Nasacort, Prozac, Ambien CR.
Daily Supplements: Calcium, B-100 Complex.
As Needed Meds: Epinephrine, Benadryl, Proventil, Xopenex, Tylenal, Darvocet, Prednisone.


Audrey Ann
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 815
   Posted 1/3/2009 9:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the sun warning, Fran! I sure hope my sun sensitivity does not get worse but I have become accustomed to accepting the worst, unfortunately.

I really want to thank everyone for the comments and suggestions to my question. It is certainly difficult to keep up with everything - family, home, work, career - with the challenge of autoimmune disease. Sometimes I wonder how any of us do it!

For now, I am doing OK. I keep working to make sure I don't just give up on moving. I have to keep moving. I remember my Oma (grandmother) saying the same thing. She had RA and it was very hard on her. She used to have gold injection treatments. I never even considered I would have the same challenges as she did!

Happy New Year everyone!

Audrey
Prayers,
Audrey Ann
Lupus, RA, and (Maybe) Fibromyalgia and LOTS of Medications!
 


 

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