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Concept: Sulfasalazine


Accompanying the increased use of biologic and non-biologic antirheumatic agents, patients with RA have been exposed to an increased risk of Pneumocystis jirovecii infection, which causes acute fulminant P. jirovecii pneumonia (PCP). Mortality in this population is higher than in HIV-infected individuals. Several guidelines and recommendations for HIV-infected individuals are available; however, such guidelines for RA patients remain less clear. Between 2006 and 2008 we encountered a clustering event of P. jirovecii infection among RA outpatients. Through our experience with this outbreak and a review of the recent medical literature regarding asymptomatic colonization and its clinical significance, transmission modes of infection and prophylaxis of PCP, we have learned the following lessons: PCP outbreaks among RA patients can occur through person-to-person transmission in outpatient facilities; asymptomatic carriers serve as reservoirs and sources of infection; and short-term prophylaxis for eradication of P. jirovecii is effective in controlling PCP outbreaks among RA outpatients.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Methotrexate, Cyclophosphamide, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, Hydroxychloroquine, Sulfasalazine


To evaluate the impact of treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), including IL-6 receptor inhibitor tocilizumab (TCZ), on anaemia markers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Concepts: Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Methotrexate, Tocilizumab, Cyclophosphamide, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, Hydroxychloroquine, Sulfasalazine


To compare persistence and adherence to triple therapy with nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) methotrexate (MTX), hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine, versus a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor plus MTX (TNFi+MTX) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Concepts: Rheumatoid arthritis, Methotrexate, Arthritis, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Ankylosing spondylitis, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, Hydroxychloroquine, Sulfasalazine


OBJECTIVES:Mesalamine non-adherence is common among patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and can be difficult to identify in practice. We sought to determine whether a random urine test for salicylates could be used as a marker of 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) ingestion and identify patients at risk of non-adherence. Our aim is to determine whether measurement of salicylates in a random urine sample correlates with 5-ASA levels, and predicts an individual’s risk of mesalamine non-adherence.METHODS:Prospective observational study. Urinary salicylates (by colorimetry) and 5-ASA (by liquid chromatography and tandem-mass spectrometry) were measured in a random urine sample at baseline in patients and controls. Mesalamine adherence was quantified by patient self-reports at enrollment and pharmacy refills of mesalamine over 6 months.RESULTS:A total of 93 patients with UC taking mesalamine maintenance therapy were prospectively enrolled from the clinic. Random urine salicylate levels (by colorimetry) were highly correlated with urine 5-ASA metabolite levels (by mass spectrometry; R2=0.9). A random urine salicylate level above 15 mg/dl distinguished patients who had recently taken mesalamine from controls (area under the curve value 0.9, sensitivity 95%, specificity 77%). A significant proportion of patients (27%) who self-identified as “high adherers” by an adherence questionnaire (Morisky Medication Adherence Scale-8) had random levels of urine salicylate below this threshold. These patients were at higher risk of objectively measured non-adherence to mesalamine over the subsequent 6 months (RR: 2.7, 95% CI: 1.1-7.0).CONCLUSIONS:A random urine salicylate level measured in the clinic can identify patients who have not recently taken mesalamine, and who are at higher risk of longitudinal non-adherence. This test could be used to screen patients who may warrant interventions to improve adherence and prevent disease relapse.Am J Gastroenterol advance online publication, 8 January 2013; doi:10.1038/ajg.2012.419.

Concepts: Urine, Measurement, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Mesalazine, Sulfasalazine, Urinalysis, Salicylate sensitivity


5-Aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) is a first-line therapy for inducing and maintaining remission of mild and moderately active ulcerative colitis (UC). When the proximal margin of inflammation is distal to the splenic flexure, 5-ASA therapy can be delivered as a rectal suppository, foam or liquid enema.

Concepts: Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Colon, Rectum, Mesalazine, Sulfasalazine, Enema, Suppository


We systematically reviewed and compared the efficacy and safety of oral mesalamine formulations (sustained release, delayed release, and prodrugs) used for induction and maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis. The main objective of this review was to determine if there are any differences in efficacy or safety among the oral 5-ASA drugs.

Concepts: Pharmacology, 2002 albums, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Review, Debut albums, Mesalazine, Sulfasalazine


5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) is drug of choice for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC). In this study, the efficacy of topical versus oral 5-ASA for the treatment of UC was examined as well as the action mechanism of this medication. A flexible tube was inserted into the rat cecum to establish a topical administration model of 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced UC. A total of 60 rats were divided into sham operation group (receiving an enema of 0.9% saline solution instead of the TNBS solution via the tube), model group, topical 5-ASA group, oral Etiasa group (a release agent of mesalazine used as positive control) and oral 5-ASA group (n=12 each). Different treatments were administered 1 day after UC induction. The normal saline (2 mL) was instilled twice a day through the tube in the sham operation group and model group. 5-ASA was given via the tube in the topical 5-ASA group (7.5 g/L, twice per day, 100 mg/kg), and rats in the oral Etiasa group and oral 5-ASA group intragastrically received Etiasa (7.5 g/L, twice per day, 100 mg/kg) and 5-ASA (7.5 g/L, twice per day, 100 mg/kg), respectively. The body weight was recorded every day. After 7 days of treatment, blood samples were drawn from the heart to harvest the sera. Colonic tissues were separated and prepared for pathological and related molecular biological examinations. The concentrations of 5-ASA were detected at different time points in the colonic tissues, feces and sera in different groups by using the high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). The results showed that the symptoms of acute UC, including bloody diarrhea and weight loss, were significantly improved in topical 5-ASA-treated rats. The colonic mucosal damage, both macroscopical and histological, was significantly relieved and the myeloperoxidase activity was markedly decreased in rats topically treated with 5-ASA compared with those treated with oral 5-ASA or Etiasa. The mRNA and protein expression of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α was down-regulated in the colonic tissue of rats topically treated with 5-ASA, significantly lower than those from rats treated with oral 5-ASA or Etiasa. The concentrations of 5-ASA in the colonic tissue were significantly higher in the topical 5-ASA group than in the oral 5-ASA and oral Etiasa groups. It was concluded that the topical administration of 5-ASA can effectively increase the concentration of 5-ASA in the colonic tissue, decrease the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, alleviate the colonic pathological damage and improve the symptoms of TNBS-induced acute UC in rats.

Concepts: Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Colon, Chromatography, Saline, Mesalazine, Sulfasalazine, Enema


Clinical evidence demonstrates coadministration of tumour necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) agents and methotrexate (MTX) is more efficacious than administration of TNFi agents alone in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, leading to the perception that coadministration of MTX with all biologic agents or oral disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs is necessary for maximum efficacy. Real-life registry data reveal approximately one-third of patients taking biologic agents use them as monotherapy. Additionally, an analysis of healthcare claims data showed that when MTX was prescribed in conjunction with a biologic agent, as many as 58% of patients did not collect the MTX prescription. Given this discrepancy between perception and real life, we conducted a review of the peer-reviewed literature and rheumatology medical congress abstracts to determine whether data support biologic monotherapy as a treatment option for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Our analysis suggests only for tocilizumab is there evidence that the efficacy of biologic monotherapy is comparable with combination therapy with MTX.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Randomized controlled trial, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Methotrexate, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, Hydroxychloroquine, Sulfasalazine


Medications for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may affect survival. However, studies often include limited follow-up and do not account for selection bias in treatment allocation. Using a large longitudinal database, we examined the association between prednisone use and mortality in RA, and whether this risk was modified with concomitant disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) use, after controlling for propensity for treatment with prednisone and individual DMARDs.

Concepts: Immunology, Rheumatoid arthritis, Methotrexate, Cyclophosphamide, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, Hydroxychloroquine, Sulfasalazine, Sodium aurothiomalate


Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at an increased risk of malignancies compared with the general population. This has raised concerns regarding these patients, particularly with the widespread use of immunomodulating therapies, including biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). We performed a systematic literature review and analysis to quantify the incidence of malignancies in patients with RA and the general population to update previously published data.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Systematic review, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Methotrexate, Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, Hydroxychloroquine, Sulfasalazine