olsalazine, Dipentum

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GENERIC NAME: olsalazine

BRAND NAME: Dipentum

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Olsalazine is an oral medication that works as an anti-inflammatory drug for treating inflammatory diseases of the colon. It is a derivative of salicylic acid. Inactive itself, it is converted by the bacteria in the colon to its active form, mesalamine. Following oral administration very little of the olsalazine (less than 10%) is absorbed from the intestine into the body. The benefit of mesalamine is believed to be due to a local effect from within the colon. Mesalamine also is thought to be the active component of another drug used for treating inflammatory diseases of the intestines, sulfasalazine (Azulfidine). Olsalazine was approved by the FDA in July 1990.

PRESCRIPTION: yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: no

PREPARATIONS: Capsules: 250 mg.

STORAGE: The capsules should be kept at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Olsalazine is used for maintaining remission of ulcerative colitis in patients who do not tolerate sulfasalazine.

DOSING: Olsalazine usually is administered at a dose of 500 mg (two capsules) twice daily. It should be taken with meals.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Administering salicylic acid derivatives with low molecular weight heparins (for example, enoxaparin) used as blood thinners may increase the risk of bleeding after neuraxial anesthesia (local anesthesia with anesthetics that are injected around nerves). Olsalazine may increase the effect of warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner, and cause bleeding. Administering olsalazine with 6-mercaptopurine or thioguanine may increase the risk of bone marrow suppression, resulting in decreased blood cells.

PREGNANCY: It is not known whether olsalazine crosses the placenta to the fetus.

NURSING MOTHERS: Mesalamine, which is the active form of olsalazine, may be secreted into breast milk and cause diarrhea in the infant.

SIDE EFFECTS: Gastrointestinal disturbances commonly occur in persons who take olsalazine. Diarrhea occurs in about 1 of every 6 persons who take it; about one in 20 need to discontinue therapy because the diarrhea is severe. Abdominal pain or cramps occur in 1 in 10 persons, and nausea or vomiting occurs in 1 in 20. Other side effects, including dizziness, depression, and headache, occur less frequently than gastrointestinal effects during therapy. Rashes occur in 2.3% of persons and joint pain in 4%.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information


Last Editorial Review: 11/29/2012




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