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Beijing Da Xue Xue Bao. 2012 Apr 18;44(2):188-94.

[Sulphasalazine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis in China: a cross-sectional study].

[Article in Chinese]

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Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Peking University People's Hospital, Beijing 100044, China.



To investigate the medication status of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and to analyze the clinical use of sulphasalazine (SSZ) and the adverse effect.


A total of 1 096 outpatients and inpatients diagnosed with RA were investigated in 21 hospitals all over China from July 2009 to December 2010, including gender, age of onset, clinical manifestations, as well as the clinical characteristics and medication status of 160 RA patients who received SSZ therapy.


In the group of 160 patients who received SSZ, the male-to-female ratio was 1:7, The average age at onset was (46.1±15.0) years, while the average course was (9.9±7.8) years. The average dose of sulphasalazine was (1.87±0.52) g/d for a mean duration of (26.3± 14.6) months. Only 17% (27/160) of the patients received SSZ monotherapy. Methotrexate (63.1%), leflunomide (36.2%) and hydroxychloroquine (18.1%) were most commonly used combination drugs. And 36.2% (58/160) of the patients used the two-drug combination of methotrexate plus sulphasalazine .In this group, 41.9% (67/160) once used SSZ but withdrew for adverse events and other reasons, while 17.5% (28/160) withdrew for adverse events, of which the most common were gastrointestinal (8.8%), skin (3.8%) and liver toxicity (3.1%).


Sulphaszlazine is not a common choice in the RA therapeutics in China, and the average dose of SSZ is lower than the standard dose of 2 to 3 g/d . The adverse events of SSZ are common; however, there are few severe adverse events or threat to life,SSZ is relatively safe in clinical practice.

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