Highlights for salsalate
- Salsalate oral tablet is available as a brand-name drug and a generic drug. Brand name: Disalcid.
- Salsalate only comes as a tablet you take by mouth.
- Salsalate is used to treat joint pain from rheumatic disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis.
- This drug has black box warnings. A black box warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke: This drug may raise your risk of severe, potentially deadly heart attack and stroke. Your risk is greater if you have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure. Long-term use of this drug also increases these risks. Don’t use this drug right before or after bypass heart surgery. This could further increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Increased risk of ulcers and stomach bleeding: This drug increases your risk of severe, potentially deadly stomach ulcers or bleeding. These problems may occur without warning. You’re at higher risk if you’re age 65 years or older.
- Pregnancy risk warning: This medication may harm your pregnancy if you’re more than 24 weeks pregnant. Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
- Warning for children with an infection: Don’t give this medication to a child who has the flu, chickenpox, or any other infection. This may cause brain and liver damage. Talk to your doctor before giving this drug to a child.
- Bleeding warning: You may bleed more easily while taking this medication. This includes bleeding from your gums. Be gentle when brushing and flossing your teeth. Avoid injury and cuts.
What is salsalate?
Salsalate is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet.
Salsalate is available as the brand-name drug Disalcid. It’s also available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.
Why it's used
Salsalate is used to treat joint pain in rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
How it works
It isn’t fully understood how salsalate works. It belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs help reduce pain, inflammation, and fever.
NSAIDs may help reduce swelling by lowering levels of prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance that usually causes inflammation.
Salsalate side effects
Salsalate oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.
More common side effects
The more common side effects that can occur with salsalate include:
- upset stomach and nausea
- ringing in your ears
Serious side effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
- chest tightness
- Increased bleeding. Symptoms can include:
- vomiting blood
- blood in your stool
- bleeding from your gums
- bruising easily
- Kidney problems. Symptoms can include:
- inability to pass urine
- increased body weight
- blood in your urine
- Liver problems. Symptoms can include:
- dark-colored urine
- stomach pain
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- Heart failure. Symptoms can include:
- trouble breathing
- weight gain
- swelling of your legs or arms
- Trouble balancing, trouble speaking or thinking, or blurred vision
- Painful headache
- Severe dizziness
- Fast heartbeat
- Chest pain or pressure
- Skin reaction. Symptoms can include:
- peeling skin
- red eyes
- sores in your mouth, eyes, or nose
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
Salsalate may interact with other medications
Salsalate oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.
To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with salsalate are listed below.
Blood pressure drugs
Taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors with salsalate may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of these drugs. Your doctor may need to adjust your dosage of ACE inhibitors. Examples of these drugs include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Don’t take NSAIDs with salsalate. Combining them may cause an increase in side effects, including stomach pain or stomach bleeding. Examples of NSAIDs include:
Taking diuretics (water pills) with salsalate may make the diuretics less effective. Examples of these drugs include:
Bipolar disorder drug
Taking lithium with salsalate may increase the levels of lithium in your body. This may lead to increased side effects from lithium.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug
Taking methotrexate with salsalate may increase the level of methotrexate in your body. This may lead to increased side effects from methotrexate.
Anticoagulant, blood thinner
Taking warfarin with salsalate may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
This drug comes with several warnings.
Salsalate can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:
- trouble breathing
- swelling of your throat or tongue
Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms.
Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).
Warnings for people with certain health conditions
For people with heart disease: If you have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, you shouldn’t take salsalate. It may increase your risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.
For people with high blood pressure: Salsalate can cause high blood pressure or make high blood pressure worse. Your doctor may monitor you closely if you have high blood pressure while taking this drug.
For people with stomach ulcers or bleeding: This medication increases your risk of ulcers or stomach bleeding if you have a history of these conditions.
For children with infections: Children who have the flu, chickenpox, or any other flu-like infection shouldn’t take this drug. It may cause brain and liver damage.
For people with kidney disease: Salsalate can further damage your kidneys. Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems. You may need to stop talking salsalate.
For people with asthma: Salsalate may make your breathing problems worse. If you have asthma that becomes worse after taking aspirin, you shouldn’t take this drug. Salsalate may have the same effect as aspirin.
Warnings for other groups
For pregnant women: Salsalate is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:
- Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
- There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.
Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This drug may cause harm to your pregnancy if you’re more than 24 weeks pregnant.
For seniors: If you’re aged 65 years or older, your body may process this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose so that too much of this drug doesn’t build up in your body, which can be dangerous.
For children: This drug shouldn’t be used in children who have the flu or other infections.
How to take salsalate
All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:
- your age
- the condition being treated
- how severe your condition is
- other medical conditions you have
- how you react to the first dose
Drug forms and strengths
- Form: oral tablet
- Strengths: 500 mg and 750 mg
- Form: oral tablet
- Strengths: 500 mg and 750 mg
Dosage for rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatic disorders
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
Typical dosage is 3,000 mg per day, divided into 2–3 evenly spaced doses.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)
Avoid use in children. A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Take as directed
Salsalate is used for short-term or long-term therapy, depending on the condition you’re treating. It comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed by your doctor.
If you stop taking it or miss doses: Salsalate can be used to treat chronic conditions. There’s no cure for these disorders, but taking salsalate will help you feel better. If you stop taking this medication or miss doses, your pain and inflammation may come back.
If you take too much: If you take too much, you may experience:
- ringing in your ears
- fast breathing
If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
What to do if you miss a dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s just a few hours until your next dose, wait and take a single dose at the usual time. Never try to catch up by taking two tablets at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.
How to tell if the drug is working: You should have less pain and swelling.
Important considerations for taking salsalate
Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes salsalate for you.
- You can take salsalate with or without food.
- If you get an upset stomach with this medication, take it with food.
- You can cut or crush the tablets.
- Store salsalate tablets at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
- Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.
A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.
When traveling with your medication:
- Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
- Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
- You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
- Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.
During your treatment with salsalate, your doctor may do certain tests to make sure the drug isn’t harming your body. These tests may check your:
- liver function
- kidney function
- blood cell counts
- blood pressure
Are there any alternatives?
There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.