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Using of 5-ASA

Brand Name(s): 5-ASA, Asacol, Pentasa

Generic Name Mesalamine Oral

What are mesalamine tablets or capsules?

MESALAMINE (Asacol®, Pentasa®) is an antiinflammatory agent. It reduces inflammation inside the bowel and pain associated with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Generic mesalamine delayed-release (enteric-coated) tablets and capsules are not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I take mesalamine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • kidney disease
  • pyloric stenosis (narrowing of the tube leading out of the stomach)
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to mesalamine, other medicines, sulfites, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take mesalamine tablets or capsules by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets or capsules whole with a full glass of water; do not crush or chew. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with mesalamine?

  • digoxin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking mesalamine?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • bloody diarrhea
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • fever
  • pain or difficulty passing urine
  • skin rash or itching
  • unusual weakness or tiredness
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Call your prescriber or health care professional for advice if you get any of these side effects.

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting
  • stomach gas (flatulence)
  • stomach pain or cramps

What should I watch for while taking mesalamine?

Tell your prescriber or health care professional if your symptoms do not start to improve after several days. There is usually an improvement in 3 to 21 days. You may need about 6 weeks of treatment to get good results. It is important that you go on taking your medicine and only stop taking it on your prescriber's advice.

Do not change the brand of mesalamine that you are taking without talking to your prescriber or health care professional. All brands of mesalamine do not have the same dose.

You may notice the empty shell from mesalamine tablets or capsules in your stool. This is quite normal; your body will have absorbed the contents.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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