How long for sulfasalazine to work

caleykate Member Posts: 7
Just as the title says really, does anyone know how long it takes sulfasalazine to kick in properly? I'm only on my third week, so only week 1 of full dose but I'm having such a hard time with pain at the moment. My mornings are terrible, instead of it being an hr or 2 before all the aches and pains ease its like double that and Im having terrible head aches too which Im not sure whether are a side effect of the sulfasalazine or just because my neck and upper back are so sore.

I got up this morning after a rubbish nights sleep and could have just burst into tears I felt so awful. I've taken my naproxen and sulfasalazine and ended up taking cocodamol on top too...just wish I cud get some relief. :cry: xx


  • maria09
    maria09 Member Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It can take a long time to get properly in your system it could even be up to 12 weeks
    I was and still am on sulphasalazine and mine did not really kick in so I'm now on Metoject with sulphasalazine plus others I'm finally getting some relief
    Sulphasalazine may have been working without my knowledge and think if I had stopped it I would have felt worse
    With our conditions it's really a matter of trial and error and what works for one may not work for others
    I hope it kicks in soon
    Maria :)
  • nigel
    nigel Member Posts: 4
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi caleykate,I also take Sulphasalazine & naproxen.I have Ankylosing Spondylitis as well,some mornings it can take an hour or so,other mornings longer to work & kick in with pain killers.Ankylosing Spondylitis i sometimes think many don't understand how bad this can be.Some days i feel better than other days,on the bad days it's hell to live with.I've just joined this forum to talk with others,who are the same as me with AS.
    All the best
    Nigel. :)
  • mike26
    mike26 Member Posts: 416
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi caleykate
    Sulfasalazine does not work immediately,it may be at least 12 weeks
    before you notice any benifit.
    when i started on it the first week was 500,2nd week was 1000,3rd week was 1500,and forth week was 2000mg.
    I was on it for 4weeks and doctor phoned me and told me to stop taking it. (It lowerd my white blood cell count) to danger level.
    now on methatrexate & lefuoinmide and about to start TNFs drus.
    the met has helped me and the lef. still painfull in joints but is holding to
    certain extent. also on preds.
    good luck hope it settles down for you mike 26 :roll:
  • Deb123
    Deb123 Member Posts: 19
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi caleykate

    I basically say the same as the others, I was told it would take at least 12wks to start working. I wasn't sure if it was helping or not till I was taken off it due to re occurring cold sores. Now I can see it was reducing the swelling and stiffness in my hands as I'm now having a flare up 3wks after stopping.

    Give it time. Take care xxxx
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,765
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi caleykate,

    Thank you for your post to Helplines.

    Please accept our apologies, as we would normally have responded to your post on receiving it. I do know why this was not picked up on this earlier and I’m sorry for this.

    When you wrote you said you were in your third week of taking sulfasalazine and the pain was very difficult. You said you were having terrible headaches and were not sure whether this was due to your sore neck and back, or a side effect of the drug. It sounded like things were really tough when you originally wrote, and I hope things are better for you now. I hope you’ve found the other replies to your post helpful too – the forum is a supportive place where sharing experiences can be really helpful.

    On the Helpline we are not medically trained, so I’d suggest contacting your rheumatology nurse if the pain and the headaches have not improved. You are probably aware that disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs such as this can take several weeks to take effect, and while you are adjusting to it talking to the nurse might help – for example, it might be that they can review the dosage.

    For further information on sulfasalazine, the link below is to the website of Arthritis Research Centre:

    Our booklet on ‘Coping with pain’ might also be useful – please click on the link below and scroll down:

    Caleykate, please don’t hesitate to call us on the Helpline if you would like to talk things though in confidence, on: 0808 800 4050 (weekdays

    You might also find it helpful to look at or share your experience with others on the forum strand ‘Living with arthritis’:

    Best wishes,

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