AZULFIDINE- sulfasalazine tablet
Pfizer Laboratories Div Pfizer Inc
AZULFIDINE Tablets contain sulfasalazine, 500 mg, for oral administration.
Therapeutic Classification: Anti-inflammatory agent.
Chemical Designation: 5-([p-(2-pyridylsulfamoyl)phenyl]azo) salicylic acid.
Molecular Formula: C18 H14 N4 O5 S
Inactive ingredients: magnesium stearate, povidone, silica (colloidal anhydrous), starch (pregelatinized).
The mode of action of sulfasalazine (SSZ) or its metabolites, 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) and sulfapyridine (SP), may be related to the anti-inflammatory and/or immunomodulatory properties that have been observed in animal and in vitro models, to its affinity for connective tissue, and/or to the relatively high concentration it reaches in serous fluids, the liver and intestinal walls, as demonstrated in autoradiographic studies in animals. In ulcerative colitis, clinical studies utilizing rectal administration of SSZ, SP, and 5-ASA have indicated that the major therapeutic action may reside in the 5-ASA moiety.
In vivo studies have indicated that the absolute bioavailability of orally administered SSZ is less than 15% for parent drug. In the intestine, SSZ is metabolized by intestinal bacteria to SP and 5-ASA. Of the two species, SP is relatively well absorbed from the intestine and highly metabolized, while 5-ASA is much less well absorbed.
Following oral administration of 1 g of SSZ to 9 healthy males, less than 15% of a dose of SSZ is absorbed as parent drug. Detectable serum concentrations of SSZ have been found in healthy subjects within 90 minutes after the ingestion. Maximum concentrations of SSZ occur between 3 and 12 hours post-ingestion, with the mean peak concentration (6 µg/mL) occurring at 6 hours.
In comparison, peak plasma levels of both SP and 5-ASA occur approximately 10 hours after dosing. This longer time to peak is indicative of gastrointestinal transit to the lower intestine where bacteria mediated metabolism occurs. SP apparently is well absorbed from the colon with an estimated bioavailability of 60%. In this same study, 5-ASA is much less well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract with an estimated bioavailability of from 10 to 30%.
Following intravenous injection, the calculated volume of distribution (Vdss) for SSZ was 7.5 ± 1.6 L. SSZ is highly bound to albumin (>99.3%) while SP is only about 70% bound to albumin. Acetylsulfapyridine (AcSP), the principal metabolite of SP, is approximately 90% bound to plasma proteins.
As mentioned above, SSZ is metabolized by intestinal bacteria to SP and 5-ASA. Approximately 15% of a dose of SSZ is absorbed as parent and is metabolized to some extent in the liver to the same two species. The observed plasma half-life for intravenous sulfasalazine is 7.6 ± 3.4 hours. The primary route of metabolism of SP is via acetylation to form AcSP. The rate of metabolism of SP to AcSP is dependent upon acetylator phenotype. In fast acetylators, the mean plasma half-life of SP is 10.4 hours while in slow acetylators, it is 14.8 hours. SP can also be metabolized to 5-hydroxy-sulfapyridine (SPOH) and N-acetyl-5-hydroxy-sulfapyridine. 5-ASA is primarily metabolized in both the liver and intestine to N-acetyl-5-aminosalicylic acid via a non-acetylation phenotype dependent route. Due to low plasma levels produced by 5-ASA after oral administration, reliable estimates of plasma half-life are not possible.
Absorbed SP and 5-ASA and their metabolites are primarily eliminated in the urine either as free metabolites or as glucuronide conjugates. The majority of 5-ASA stays within the colonic lumen and is excreted as 5-ASA and acetyl-5-ASA with the feces. The calculated clearance of SSZ following intravenous administration was 1 L/hr. Renal clearance was estimated to account for 37% of total clearance.
Elderly patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed a prolonged plasma half-life for SSZ, SP, and their metabolites. The clinical impact of this is unknown.
Small studies have been reported in the literature in children down to the age of 4 years with ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. In these populations, relative to adults, the pharmacokinetics of SSZ and SP correlated poorly with either age or dose.
The metabolism of SP to AcSP is mediated by polymorphic enzymes such that two distinct populations of slow and fast metabolizers exist. Approximately 60% of the Caucasian population can be classified as belonging to the slow acetylator phenotype. These subjects will display a prolonged plasma half-life for SP (14.8 hours vs 10.4 hours) and an accumulation of higher plasma levels of SP than fast acetylators. The clinical implication of this is unclear; however, in a small pharmacokinetic trial where acetylator status was determined, subjects who were slow acetylators of SP showed a higher incidence of adverse events.
Gender appears not to have an effect on either the rate or the pattern of metabolites of SSZ, SP, or 5-ASA.
AZULFIDINE Tablets are indicated:
- in the treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, and as adjunctive therapy in severe ulcerative colitis; and
- for the prolongation of the remission period between acute attacks of ulcerative colitis.
AZULFIDINE Tablets are contraindicated in:
- Patients with intestinal or urinary obstruction,
- Patients with porphyria as sulfonamides have been reported to precipitate an acute attack,
- Patients hypersensitive to sulfasalazine, its metabolites, sulfonamides, or salicylates.
Hepatic, Renal, and Hematologic Toxicity or Other Conditions
Only after critical appraisal should AZULFIDINE Tablets be given to patients with hepatic or renal damage or blood dyscrasias. Deaths associated with the administration of sulfasalazine have been reported from hypersensitivity reactions, agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia, other blood dyscrasias, renal and liver damage, irreversible neuromuscular and central nervous system changes, and fibrosing alveolitis. The presence of clinical signs such as sore throat, fever, pallor, purpura, or jaundice may be indications of serious blood disorders or hepatotoxicity. Complete blood counts, as well as urinalysis with careful microscopic examination, should be done frequently in patients receiving AZULFIDINE (see PRECAUTIONS, Laboratory Tests). Discontinue treatment with sulfasalazine while awaiting the results of blood tests. Discontinue AZULFIDINE if renal function deteriorates while on therapy.
Oligospermia and Infertility
Oligospermia and infertility have been observed in men treated with sulfasalazine; however, withdrawal of the drug appears to reverse these effects.
Serious infections, including fatal sepsis and pneumonia, have been reported. Some infections were associated with agranulocytosis, neutropenia, or myelosuppression. Discontinue AZULFIDINE if a patient develops a serious infection. Closely monitor patients for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with AZULFIDINE. For a patient who develops a new infection during treatment with AZULFIDINE, perform a prompt and complete diagnostic workup for infection and myelosuppression. Caution should be exercised when considering the use of sulfasalazine in patients with a history of recurring or chronic infections or with underlying conditions or concomitant drugs which may predispose patients to infections.
Severe hypersensitivity reactions may include internal organ involvement, such as hepatitis, nephritis, myocarditis, mononucleosis-like syndrome (i.e., pseudomononucleosis), hematological abnormalities (including hematophagic histiocytosis), and/or pneumonitis including eosinophilic infiltration.
Severe Cutaneous Adverse Reactions
Drug Reactions with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)
Severe, life-threatening, systemic hypersensitivity reactions such as drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) have been reported in patients taking sulfasalazine. Early manifestations of hypersensitivity, such as fever or lymphadenopathy, may be present even though rash is not evident. If such signs or symptoms are present, evaluate the patient immediately. Discontinue AZULFIDINE if an alternative etiology for the signs or symptoms cannot be established.
Other Severe Cutaneous Adverse Reactions
Other severe cutaneous adverse reactions, including exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), and acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP) have been reported in association with the use of sulfasalazine (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Severe cutaneous adverse reactions can be serious and are sometimes fatal. Patients are at highest risk for these events early in therapy, with most events occurring within the first month of treatment. Discontinue AZULFIDINE at the first appearance of signs or symptoms of severe cutaneous adverse reactions or other signs of hypersensitivity and consider further evaluation.
AZULFIDINE Tablets should be given with caution to patients with severe allergy or bronchial asthma. Adequate fluid intake must be maintained in order to prevent crystalluria and stone formation. Patients with glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency should be observed closely for signs of hemolytic anemia. This reaction is frequently dose related. If toxic or hypersensitivity reactions occur, the drug should be discontinued immediately.
Patients should be informed of the possibility of adverse reactions and of the need for careful medical supervision. The occurrence of sore throat, fever, pallor, purpura, or jaundice may indicate a serious blood disorder. Should any of these occur, the patient should seek medical advice. They should also be made aware that ulcerative colitis rarely remits completely, and that the risk of relapse can be reduced by continued administration of AZULFIDINE at a maintenance dosage. Patients should be instructed to take AZULFIDINE in evenly divided doses preferably after meals. Additionally, patients should be advised that sulfasalazine may produce an orange-yellow discoloration of the urine or skin.
Complete blood counts, including differential white cell count, and liver function tests, should be performed before starting AZULFIDINE and every second week during the first three months of therapy. During the second three months, the same tests should be done once monthly and thereafter once every three months, and as clinically indicated. Urinalysis and an assessment of renal function should also be done periodically during treatment with AZULFIDINE.
The determination of serum sulfapyridine levels may be useful since concentrations greater than 50 µg/mL appear to be associated with an increased incidence of adverse reactions.
Reduced absorption of folic acid and digoxin have been reported when those agents were administered concomitantly with sulfasalazine.
Several reports of possible interference with measurements, by liquid chromatography, of urinary normetanephrine causing a false-positive test result have been observed in patients exposed to sulfasalazine or its metabolite, mesalamine/mesalazine.
Sulfasalazine or its metabolite, sulfapyridine, may interfere with ultraviolet absorbance, particularly at 340 nm, and may cause interference with some laboratory assays that use nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide [NAD(H)] or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate [NADP(H)] to measure ultraviolet absorbance around that wavelength. Examples of such assays may include alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatine kinase-muscle/brain (CK-MB), ammonia, thyroxine or glucose. Erroneous laboratory results may be observed in patients receiving higher than recommended dosages of sulfasalazine.
Two-year oral carcinogenicity studies were conducted in male and female F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice. Sulfasalazine was tested at 84 (496 mg/m2), 168 (991 mg/m2), and 337.5 (1991 mg/m2) mg/kg/day doses in rats. A statistically significant increase in the incidence of urinary bladder transitional cell papillomas was observed in male rats. In female rats, two (4%) of the 337.5 mg/kg rats had transitional cell papilloma of the kidney. The increased incidence of neoplasms in the urinary bladder and kidney of rats was also associated with an increase in the renal calculi formation and hyperplasia of transitional cell epithelium. For the mouse study, sulfasalazine was tested at 675 (2025 mg/m2), 1350 (4050 mg/m2), and 2700 (8100 mg/m2) mg/kg/day. The incidence of hepatocellular adenoma or carcinoma in male and female mice was significantly greater than the control at all doses tested.
Sulfasalazine did not show mutagenicity in the bacterial reverse mutation assay (Ames test) and in L51784 mouse lymphoma cell assay at the HGPRT gene. However, sulfasalazine showed equivocal mutagenic response in the micronucleus assay of mouse and rat bone marrow and mouse peripheral RBC and in the sister chromatid exchange, chromosomal aberration, and micronucleus assays in lymphocytes obtained from humans.
Impairment of male fertility was observed in reproductive studies performed in rats at a dose of 800 mg/kg/day (4800 mg/m2). Oligospermia and infertility have been described in men treated with sulfasalazine. Withdrawal of the drug appears to reverse these effects.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of sulfasalazine in pregnant women. Reproduction studies have been performed in rats and rabbits at doses up to 6 times the human maintenance dose of 2 g/day based on body surface area and have revealed no evidence of impaired female fertility or harm to the fetus due to sulfasalazine. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
There have been case reports of neural tube defects (NTDs) in infants born to mothers who were exposed to sulfasalazine during pregnancy, but the role of sulfasalazine in these defects has not been established. However, oral sulfasalazine inhibits the absorption and metabolism of folic acid which may interfere with folic acid supplementation (see Drug Interactions) and diminish the effect of periconceptional folic acid supplementation that has been shown to decrease the risk of NTDs.
A national survey evaluated the outcome of pregnancies associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In a group of 186 women treated with sulfasalazine alone or sulfasalazine and concomitant steroid therapy, the incidence of fetal morbidity and mortality was comparable to that for 245 untreated IBD pregnancies as well as to pregnancies in the general population.1 A study of 1,455 pregnancies associated with exposure to sulfonamides indicated that this group of drugs, including sulfasalazine, did not appear to be associated with fetal malformation.2 A review of the medical literature covering 1,155 pregnancies in women with ulcerative colitis suggested that the outcome was similar to that expected in the general population.3
No clinical studies have been performed to evaluate the effect of sulfasalazine on the growth development and functional maturation of children whose mothers received the drug during pregnancy
Sulfasalazine and its metabolite, sulfapyridine pass through the placenta. Sulfasalazine and its metabolite are also present in human milk. In the newborn, sulfonamides compete with bilirubin for binding sites on the plasma proteins and may cause kernicterus. Although sulfapyridine has been shown to have a poor bilirubin-displacing capacity, monitor the newborn for the potential for kernicterus.
A case of agranulocytosis has been reported in an infant whose mother was taking both sulfasalazine and prednisone throughout pregnancy.
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