sulfa allergy?

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 4/19/2008 11:48 AM (GMT -7)   
I have just been given a diagnosis of crohn's disease (or less likely - ulcerative colitis - GI isn't sure). I've been unable to take sulfasalazine or oral mesalamine (Lialda) due to sulfa allergy. Does anyone else have sulfa allergy, and if so what medication(s) helped you?
I'm currently taking canasa supps 1000mg once daily (for 10 days) - it helps, but it does not seem to be doing enough.
Thank you for any suggestions.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1202
   Posted 4/19/2008 12:34 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a sulfa allergy and was given Asacol (though was also first diagnosed as UC). I think there is a drug like that which is non-sulfa and absorbs earlier than Asacol, which doesn't break down until the large intestine. I suppose it depends upon where your Crohn's issues are.
And, though it didn't work for me, Asacol helps many, many people!  I have a friend with Crohn's who maintains remission using Asacol and the same with my aunt who has UC!

Also, if you are bad enough, I recommend asking your doctor about Remicade. It seems scary to people at first, but it did wonders for me and there are no purse-loads of pills to carry about on a daily basis!

Good luck!

--39 year old female, dx as UC in '04 (1st symptoms in '03), switched to Crohn's in '05, 1 fistula, crohn's colitis, limited to large intestine
--rejected (reaction/didn't work): Asacol, AZA, 6-MP, MTX, Remicade, Humira, prednisone
--stuck on methylprednisolone, tried Prochymal in Phase III study (can't wait til it's approved!)
--started Tysabri 3/21/08
--single mom to 10-year-old girl

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 492
   Posted 4/19/2008 12:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I absolutely have a bad reaction to Sulfa drugs. I get the hives so bad my entire body is covered and puffed up, and the itching is unbearable. I ended up being put on Prednisone as an alternative but this was way back in 83. Now I am taking Humira and Pentasa. Many people can tolerate 6-MP (Purinethol), and a host of other medications that are steroids but specifically designed to work on the intestines.
I would relate to your GI that things are not all that good and maybe discuss options with him/her about alternative medications. Many drugs take a period of time before they really begin to afford relief, unfortunately for us we have to "deal" with our lives in the mean time.
I hope you feel better soon...
Dx'd with crohn's 1983, resections 83,85 and 89 Double Strictureplasty 2005, Dx'd COPD 2000, Psoriasis 2002 and Fibromyalgia 2005.
Currently takeing Humira, Pentasa, Lomotil, Elavil, Sinemet, Skelaxin, Advair, Abuterol, Oxycodone and Xanax as needed

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 4/19/2008 1:52 PM (GMT -7)   
My thanks to both of you for the advice, it is very helpful to know what some of my options are. I'm new to this, and I suspect my GI might be too because he's a rather recent graduate of med school. It makes me feel better to go into my appointments with some information to query him about.
Thanks! :-)

Aimee =)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 4/19/2008 2:04 PM (GMT -7)   
I am allergic to it - I get hives.
Honestly, I haven't run into issues with medication yet. Doc hasnt' recommended anything for me that has sulfa in it, I guess.
So I guess there are plenty of meds out there! =)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 4/19/2008 3:05 PM (GMT -7)   
I am allergic myself to sulfa.  I use Asacol as my only Crohns med right now and it works great for me.
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 5/12/2008 12:58 PM (GMT -7)   

According to my mother I am allergic to sulfa drugs.  I am taking Mercaptopurine for Crohn's (6-mp) since February 08 and it seems to be doing the trick.  Asacol caused me terrible headaches.  When I had really bad flare ups  Prednisone did the job.  I am very happy so far with the 6 mp and little side effects aside from coming down with Shingles do to lowered immune and stress.  But Shingles is nothing compared to Crohn's pain.

Good luck.


Melissa H
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 85
   Posted 5/12/2008 1:40 PM (GMT -7)   
JTMom - that made me smile..."according to my mother". That's my case -- my whole life I've said I'm allergic to sulfa drugs. This was determined when I was a child (not sure how). At any rate, the docs have started asking me now, "what happens when you take sulfa drugs" and I say "I dunno, ask my mom!"

I've been taking Asacol now for about 6 months and have tolerated it just fine, in terms of allergic reactions :)

30 year old wifey and mom to 3 little girls, 2 dogs, and 2 ratties and working full-time outside of the home...and always ready for a nap.
Suffered with symptoms for 12 years, dx Crohn's-Colitis 11/2007. Taking Asacol, Omeprazol, Rowasa, Bentyl. Flaring off and on and trying to avoid steriods.  Taking RF Plus, Similase, Cortine, Pregnenalone, Vit B shots.

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 5/12/2008 1:51 PM (GMT -7)   

Too funny!  Exactly the same with me.  My mom also claims I am allergic to Penecillin and says I broke out in hives.  Not too sure about the sulfa. LOL

Luckily there are other meds available.  

Good luck to you.  Hope you have longer remissions.


Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 5/12/2008 11:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Hmmm...that is a good one...according to mom...don't think it will work for me.

I am allergic to sulfa and ASA.  So I have very little that I can take.  6MP, AZA and Methotrexate; Remicade or Humira are the only drugs that I can take. I have taken every one except Humira; but, have been placed back on methotrexate. I am not sure if it is working because I am still having problems despite a reseaction earlier this year.

Post Edited (Shoshanna) : 5/13/2008 8:51:03 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/5/2013 1:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I started taking Asacol 6 weeks ago ...shortly after, noticed a rash and now hives all over..crazy itching.  Both my PC and GI are aware that I am allergic to sulfa causes hives.  I was told by both, no sulfa. Last week, apptmt w/my pc and blood work ...elevated liver enzymes and I had her look at the rash ...she thought was change in weather /dermatitis.. She suggested i ctct my GI regarding the liver enzymes since they too were fine prior to the med.  I specifically waited until the PC apptmt before ordering the "money saving" 3month supply of Asacol, due to the rash.  The GI doctor also called in the prescrip renewal i am, broke out head to toe, now with a 3month supply of a med that i'm allergic too.   I found the sulfa related info on the web.  Very frustrated. Now, I have the GI apptmt and will discuss the med issue. I was diagnosed with Diverticulitis last June, have had 3 episodes, two that required ER.  The GI doctor suggested "talking with a surgeon" or possibly med ...I chose the med.
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