Basic Pharmacology

Sulfasalazine is a prodrug of which 70% is converted by colon bacteria to two active metabolites, sulfapyri-dine and 5-aminosalicylic acid (mesalamine). Sulfa-pyridine has antibacterial activities, and 5-aminosali-

cylic acid is antiinflammatory; however, these effects do not account for the ability of this drug to slow the processes of rheumatoid arthritis. Recent research suggests additional activities of sulfasalazine that may be relevant to these effects: its ability to increase adenosine levels, its inhibitory effects on IL-1 and TNF-a release, and its inhibition of NF-kB. The pharmacoki-netic data for this and other DMARDs are provided in Table 36.4.

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