Sulphasalazine: a 'new' antirheumatic drug

Br J Rheumatol. 1984 Feb;23(1):26-34. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/23.1.26.


Sulphasalazine was first introduced for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in 1942. Following initial enthusiasm, interest waned until 1978 when a large open study suggested that it might have a 'second-line effect'. Since then further studies have confirmed this effect and once again rheumatologists are starting to use sulphasalazine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In this review we examine the pharmacology of sulphasalazine and its metabolites, comment upon the possible modes of action and review the recent literature pertaining to its use in rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agranulocytosis / chemically induced
  • Anemia / chemically induced
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Bile / metabolism
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology
  • Cyanosis / chemically induced
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / chemically induced
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced
  • Male
  • Sulfasalazine / adverse effects
  • Sulfasalazine / metabolism
  • Sulfasalazine / therapeutic use*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects


  • Sulfasalazine