Diary of a lab rat on sulfasalazine

Afc Member Posts: 15
edited 7. Aug 2013, 08:43 in Young people's community
I feel like a lab rat :(

The latest one I've been tried on is sulfasalazine - I managed to take it for 2 weeks (getting up to 2 a day instead of the recommended 5 a day...) before I got nausea and THE worst headaches I've ever experienced. I came home from work early, took 2 co-codamol and was still in extreme pain throughout the night. Then I got a sore throat (which on the packet warns you to stop taking sulfasalazine if you experience this) so of course i got paranoid, stopped taking them and phoned my doctor.
The doc told me I had some sort of virus and was to start the sulfa again after 2 weeks. So I took the first one yesterday ~11am. 9 hours later I started to get a headache, was feeling sick and later was actually sick, with diarrhea also. Surely this can't just be a coincidence? The doctor seemed to think so anyway - also it was a doc I'd never spoken to before so I felt like I had to explain everything previous in my history which was frustrating. She seemed to think it was a coincidence and I am to go back on them in a couple of days.
Now I've already taken the day off work and really can't afford to miss any more shifts (I'm starting my final year of Uni in September and need to have as much money in the bank before then as possible). Really can't afford to be having these side effects when I'm studying either :(.

What do you do to get through to them?
Also I've heard that the side effects go away after a while (sometimes 3 months) but I feel like I really can't afford to be feeling like this for that length of time. I've got to give it another go in a couple days when I'm feeling better, then we shall see what happens.
I don't know whether I should be taking time off work (most people seem to be able to soldier on when on the sulfa) but I really don't feel up to working when I'm feeling like this.


  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Ah yes, the lab rat thing, I remember that well. I was begun on sulph back in 2002 and was very fortunate in that all I experienced was extreme bruising. When you re-start after a break do you go back to the dose you had reached? When I was given the sulph the increase was paced as folows:

    one tablet each morning for seven days
    one tablet morning and evening for seven days
    two tablets in the morning and one in the evening for seven days
    two morning and evening for seven days

    Any other increase should also be staggered in that way. Is this how you have been told to take them? It's also better to take them with food. Don't rely on a GP for information about these meds, do you have a rheumatology helpline you can ring for help? For some sulph proves to be intolerable but you are still in the early stages - the body does need time to adjust. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • mike26
    mike26 Member Posts: 416
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi Afc
    this was my first (dmard)
    week 1 500mg daily
    week 2 500mg x 2 daily
    week 3 500mg x 3 daily
    week 4 5oomg x 4 daily
    then in my forth week in got phone call
    from my doctor told me to stop taking them
    (lowerd my white blood count to danger level)
    now on methotrexate and lefiunmide..
    good luck with your meds and take regular
    blood tests ..
    mike26 :roll: