Five-Aminosalicylic Acid: An Update for the Reappraisal of an Old Drug
The pharmacokinetic disposition of sulfasalazine and its metabolites was studied in 8 young and 12 elderly patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Equal numbers of slow and fast acetylators were included in each age group. Patients received enteric-coated sulfasalazine 2g daily for 21 days; specimens of serum and urine were collected for 96 h after administration on days 1 and 21. The elimination half-life of sulfasalazine was greater in the elderly patients. Many disposition parameters of sulfapyridine differed in slow and fast acetylators; of greatest significance were the increased values of steady-state serum concentration in the slow acetylators. There was no effect of age on any sulfapyridine disposition parameters. Values for the steady-state serum concentrations of N-acetyl-5-acetylsalicylic acid were greater in elderly than in young patients. The metabolism of sulfapyridine was markedly affected by acetylator phenotype and this was reflected in the composition of sulfapyridine-related material in the urine. Thus, age is a determinant of the steady-state concentrations of salicylate moieties but acetylator phenotype plays a greater role in determining the serum concentration of sulfapyridine, which has greater therapeutic implications in rheumatology.