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What is Sulindac?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Sulindac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used most commonly in the management of acute or chronic pain associated with conditions like arthritis. The drug is provided in tablet format and is available by prescription only, as it can have potentially negative drug interactions. For this reason, it is important to screen patients for risk factors before giving them this medication. Most pharmacies keep it in stock and can fill a prescription on the same day, except in special circumstances.

This medication blocks inflammatory processes to reduce, pain, soreness, and other complications associated with inflammation. Patients on this medication commonly experience side effects like nausea and gastrointestinal distress. The drug can also cause blood problems, including anemia and abnormal clotting. Like other NSAIDS, sulindac has been linked with the development of stomach ulcers and its use may not be recommended in patients with existing ulcers.

This drug is also not advised for patients who are about to have heart surgery. Patients on this medication may need to stop it while preparing for surgery and during recovery, with a doctor making alternate drugs available. Sulindac is also not recommended for use during pregnancy, as it can endanger the fetus by prolonging or preventing labor. Some clinical studies have involved administration of the drug at the end of a pregnancy to prevent preterm labor, with the goal of identifying more treatment options for women who go into labor too soon, especially if they have a history of early labor with other pregnancies.

Numerous kinds of arthritis can be managed with sulindac, and a doctor may recommend the drug for select other conditions, such as in off-label use where the drug is used for something it has not yet been approved for. Patients should keep the medication in a cool, dry place and should be careful to take doses on the provided schedule. The medication is designed to keep levels of the drug consistent and effective in the blood, and skewing the schedule or missing a dose can result in discomfort for the patient.

Patients who become pregnant while taking this medication should stop and consult their doctors for advice. Depending on the situation, a doctor may advise switching to a different medication, or may keep the patient on sulindac in the interests of preventing severe inflammation that might endanger the pregnancy. The risks of this drug are mostly associated with the third trimester; the capacity for delaying labor can work against a patient if her pregnancy is progressing normally, forcing her to carry the baby longer.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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