Indications for Sulfasalazine
Sulfasalazine is a sulfonamide drug with both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is indicated in veterinary medicine for managing inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Once administered, Sulfasalazine is broken down into its metabolites of 5-aminosalicylic acid and sulfapyridine, which are readily absorbed. Sulfasalazine is particularly useful in the treatment of colitis in dogs and cats.
Precautions when using Sulfasalazine
Sulfasalazine is not safe to use in pregnant animals or those, which are allergic to the drug, sulfonamides, or salicylates. Do not treat animals with intestinal or urinary tract blockages and conditions like porphyria with this drug. Administer this drug with caution in pets with fever, jaundice, renal or liver conditions and blood dyscrasias as they are high-risk groups. Conduct periodic urine analysis and liver function tests for animals undergoing Sulfasalazine therapy. It can interact with many medications like Digoxin, Folic acid and Sulfonylureas, which can result in complications like low absorption and defective hepatic metabolism.
Side Effects of Sulfasalazine
Some of the commonly found side effects include skin rash, pruritus, urticaria, Heinz body anemia, blood dyscrasias, hepatitis, renal toxicity, dry eye, low sperm count etc. Non-enteric-coated forms of sulfasalazine might result in gastrointestinal disturbances along with or without anorexia, nausea or diarrhea.
Dosage for Sulfasalazine
Sulfasalazine is available as 500 mg tablets; as delayed-release and as enteric-coated tablets. The normal dose in dogs is 20 to 50 mg/kg every 8 hours for 3-6 weeks depending on the severity of the condition as well as the response of the animal under treatment. The maximum permissible dosage of sulfasalazine is 1 g per dose. For best results, administer Sulfasalazine after meals, and get the pet to swallow the tablets in whole.In cats, a daily dose of 10 to 20 mg/kg is suggested, which should be used with caution as felines are generally responsive to salicylates.
Brand/Generic Equivalents of Sulfasalazine
Azulfidine (Pharmacia & Upjohn)