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Salazopyrin en-tabs: an enteric-coated case that is hard to take

Abstract

Sulphasalazine (Salazopyrin - Pharmacia) has been an established treatment for ulcerative colitis (UC) for over 20 years. More recently its value as a disease-modifying drug in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has become recognised again.1 All the clinical trials of the drug in RA have employed enteric-coated Salazopyrin EN-tabs rather than the plain tablets usually used in UC. The manufacturer emphasises that only this preparation (and not the plain tablets) ‘is indicated and approved for use in RA’. Why is the enteric coating essential in the treatment of RA but not in ulcerative colitis?

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