GENERIC NAME: mesalamine (5-aminosalicylic acid)
BRAND NAMES: Pentasa, Rowasa, Asacol, Asacol HD, Lialda, Canasa, Apriso, Delzicol
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Mesalamine is a drug used for treating ulcerative colitis and mild to moderate Crohn's disease. The exact mechanism of mesalamine is not known but is believed to be by reducing inflammation in the colon. Ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory diseases cause excessive production of chemicals, for example, prostaglandins, that produce inflammation in the colon. Prostaglandins are produced by the enzymes, cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. These enzymes are over-active in individuals with ulcerative colitis. Mesalamine may work by blocking the activity of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase, thereby, reducing the production of prostaglandins. Reduced production of prostaglandins decreases inflammation in the colon and the symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis. Available forms of mesalamine differ in their route of administration and how often they are administered. Mesalamine was approved by the FDA in December 1987.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes (rectal enema)
- Tablets (delayed release): 800 mg (Asacol), 1.2 g (Lialda).
- Capsules (extended or delayed release): 375 mg (Apriso); 250, 500 mg (Pentasa); 400 mg (Delzicol)
- Rectal enema (Rowasa): 4 g per 60 mL.
- Rectal suppositories (Canasa): 1000 mg.
STORAGE: The tablets, capsules, and enemas should be stored at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F). The suppositories should be stored below 25 C (77 F) without freezing.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Mesalamine is used for the treatment of mild to moderately severe ulcerative colitis; some physicians may use it for Crohn's disease treatment (off-label use). The suppositories are limited to use in ulcerative colitis involving only the rectum (proctitis) and the enemas to colitis involving only the part of the colon close to the rectum (distal colitis) or proctitis. While the benefits of mesalamine can be seen within 3 to 21 days of starting therapy, it may take up to three to six weeks for the enemas and suppositories, six weeks for the tablets, and eight weeks for the capsules to have maximum effect.
Quick GuideUlcerative Colitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
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