Salsalate is used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis caused by swelling of the lining of the joints), osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints), and other conditions that cause swelling.

Salsalate is in a class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) called salicylates. It works by stopping the body’s production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and swelling.

Side Effects Of Salsalate

Salsalate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • diarrhea
  • dizziness

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • ringing in the ears
  • loss of hearing
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • hoarseness
  • fast heartbeat
  • unexplained weight gain
  • swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, lips, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • rash
  • hives
  • blisters
  • itching
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • pale or cold skin
  • fever
  • nausea
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • weakness
  • lack of energy
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • flu-like symptoms
  • cloudy, discolored, or bloody urine
  • back pain
  • difficult or painful urination

Salsalate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking salsalate:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to salsalate, aspirin or other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in salsalate tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the WARNING section and any of the following: acetazolamide (Diamox); angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril, (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik); antacids; diuretics (”water pills”) such as furosemide (Lasix); lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid);medications for gout such as probenecid (Probalan) and sulfinpyrazone (Anturane); methazolamide; certain oral medications for diabetes such as chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glimepiride (Amaryl, in Avandaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol, in Metaglip),glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase, Micronase), tolazamide (Tolinase), and tolbutamide;certain medications for seizures such as phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) and valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote); methotrexate (Trexall); penicillin (Veetids); salicylates such as bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol), choline magnesium trisalicylatecholine salicylate (Arthropan), diflunisal (Dolobid), and magnesium salicylate (Doan’s, others); and thyroid medications. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any of the conditions in the WARNING section or asthma, especially if you also have frequent stuffed or runny nose or nasal polyps (swelling of the lining of the nose); gout; kidney or liver disease; or swelling of the hands, feet, ankles or lower legs.
  • you should know that salsalate should not be taken by children and teenagers who have chickenpox, flu, flu symptoms, or who have received the varicella virus (chickenpox) vaccine in the past six weeks because of the risk of Reye’s Syndrome (a serious condition in which fat builds upon the brain, liver, and other body organs).
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, especially if you are in the last few months of pregnancy; plan to become pregnant; or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking salsalate, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking salsalate.

Salsalate Dosage

Salsalate comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken two to three times a day. Salsalate may be taken with food or milk to prevent stomach upset. Take salsalate at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take salsalate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

It may take three to four days until you feel the full benefit of the medication. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, call your doctor.


Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking salsalate.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.