Impending shortage of rheumatoid arthritis drug

Gepubliceerd op 3 november 2016 om 10:45

Rheumatology patients, pharmacies and manufacturers to report shortages of the drug sulfasalazine, an agent that inhibits arthritis and colitis.


The Arthritis Foundation warns that patients should discontinue their treatment or have to switch to another drug that works less well against their symptoms or causes side effects.

According to use the latest data in the Netherlands 16,000 people sulfasalazine. It is often used by pregnant women because the side effects are minimal.

The deficiency of the anti-rheumatic agent is caused by a shortage of raw materials. Why there are not, is unclear. The production of sulfasalazine seem to lie still at all drug plants.

Next year

The largest manufacturer, Pfizer, has only an emergency stock. Other manufacturers can not deliver more.

When there are enough medicine again, is not clear. According to the Arthritis Association manufacturers initially promised that the end of October would be delivered again medications, but that was not met.

Pfizer now thinks about three weeks back to stock. Other producers, such Sanzon, Pharma Chemicals and Centrafarm, do not know when they can make or say again that it is only January or March next year.


The Arthritis Foundation urges the producers are to be taken. Sija de Jong of the Arthritis Foundation suggests that change leads to another means of great uncertainty. "A new agent may cause or may come back rheumatism side effects. Many people have a carefully balanced amount of sulfasalazine that works just right for them. It really find out what is the best medicine for you."

The Arthritis Foundation has a special website created where patients can find more information. De Jong recommends people consult with their doctor about alternatives.

The NIS Editors: Photo: Reuters

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