Sulfasalazine and Hydroxychloroquine

spidey23972 Member Posts: 21
edited 27. Jul 2015, 05:49 in Living with Arthritis archive
I have just received a copy of the letter that my RA consultant has sent to my GP. I'm being started on early aggressive therapy and I will be commencing on Hydroxy chloroquine and Sulfasalazine. Has anyone had any experience of these drugs? Are they tablet form or injected, do they have bad side effects, if so do they subside once your body gets use to it?
Thank you.

I have just Googled these drugs, and there doesn't seem to be any alarming side effects, also they are administered orally, I am still interested in anyone's experience of these drugs.


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,719
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've never taken sulphasalazine but have been on a combination of hydroxychloroquine and methotrexate for years. Hydroxy is one of the mildest DMARDS but seems to work well in combination with others. The main thing is to watch the eyes (no pun intended :wink: ) as very occasionally, they can cause a problem but you should be monitored regularly for this. I've taken it for over 15 years with no difficulties at all.

    Both come in tablet form and, with most, if not all, DMARDS, they can take up to 12 weeks to work. I hope yours work sooner but mainly I hope they work :)
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sulph was my first DMARD, initially I bruised badly on my legs but that passed after six weeks or so. Some struggle with headaches, other with nausea, but it can all ease as the body adjusts. You build the dose steadily, it takes a month to reach the level of taking four tablets per day, I had to build to six. There is no hard-and-fast rule about how soon one may find things improving or not, the usual time frame is two - twelve weeks. I have a friend with the same auto-immune as myself and his is beautifully controlled with just four sulph per day, so it can work. Your urine will change colour so ensure that if you have to present a specimen the receiver knows you are on this medication.

    I have not taken hydroxy but I am aware that it is one of the milder DMARDs. Cold comfort for you though, this is a scary new world, yes? I hope the combination works for you. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • theresak
    theresak Member Posts: 1,998
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sulph was my first DMARD too, and other than orange-coloured urine I had no side-effects, but was taken off it as it did nothing to bring my RA under control.

    I'm currently taking hydroxychloroquine alongside humira, and haven't had any side effects. I have an eye test every twelve months & use the Amler chart monthly as directed.
  • applerose
    applerose Member Posts: 3,621
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've taken both of those separately and both affected my liver after about 3 months so I was taken off both. Other than that, I didn't notice anything else good or bad. Most people seem ok on them.
  • dibdab
    dibdab Member Posts: 1,498
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi tere,

    I take sulphasalazine and hydroxychloroquine in combination with methotrexate, They sometimes give me a slightly dodgy tummy, but nothing unbearable (if it gets too problematic I miss 2 or 3 doses and it soon settles again). The key for me is to take it after a meal so that there's food in my tummy which helps with the side effects. I started with the 1st two, then had methotrexate added in as they didn't control my RA sufficiently.

    I hope you get a good result with them both.

    Deb xx
  • Brutha
    Brutha Member Posts: 51
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I was taking this mixture for a while, the hydroxy was added to the sulphasalazine I was already taking. I got a few more rashes on my feet and elbows. Nothing sinister with the rashes though, and the docs don't seem to care if it is the RA or the meds causing the rashes. That cocktail doesnt seem to be working very well for me anyway so rheumatologist swapping out the hydroxy for methotrexate. I hope it works for you, 2/3 months I was taking them together.

    I was taking tablets. Don't know if that's the only way they can be taken or not.
  • Sarahd1609
    Sarahd1609 Member Posts: 64
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I started on sulphasalazine and it seemed to work, but unfortunately after a few weeks I then found out I was allergic to it when I came out in a nasty rash on the hottest day of the year! I was then on methotrexate tablets but switched to the jabs when I kept getting ulcers, then added leflunomide and after 6 months hydroxychloroquine. That combination didn't work so I am now on biologics but as this issue goes it is a case of what suits one may not suit another. I'm still trying to get this under control so will just keep going until they find the combo that works. You may find these work for you or maybe not. Don't get disheartened if it doesn't, just be willing to try something else and wok with your rheumatology team to find the solution. I keep track of flare ups, when the pain us worse/better, if I notice a trigger, so that when I see them I can remember it all, as otherwise I'd probably miss something out xxx
  • bubbadog
    bubbadog Member Posts: 5,544
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've been on both for over 12 months now, I'm getting on fine with them. Yes you do need to have eye tests every 12 months and I have blood tests every 6 weeks. But they are just precautionary. It depends on the person the way it will effect you. I hope it helps you. Let us know how you get on.