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Using of Rowasa

Brand Name(s): Canasa Suppository, Rowasa

Generic Name Mesalamine Rectal

What are mesalamine suppositories or rectal suspension?

MESALAMINE (Canasa™), Rowasa®) is an antiinflammatory agent. It reduces inflammation inside the bowel and pain associated with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Generic mesalamine suppositories and rectal suspensions are available.

What should my health care professional know before I use 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, aspirin, sulfites, saturated vegetable fatty acid esters (Hard fat, NF), other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Mesalamine suppositories or rectal suspension are only for use in the rectum (back passage). Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Use your doses at regular intervals. Do not use your medicine more often than directed.

  • Suppositories: Wash your hands. Remove the foil wrapper before using. Try to handle the suppository as little as you can, so that it does not melt before use. Gently press the suppository completely into the rectum, pointed end first. For best results, use the suppository after you have had a bowel movement, and try to keep the suppository in place for 1 to 3 hours. Wash your hands. Mesalamine suppositories will cause staining of direct contact surfaces, including but not limited to fabrics, flooring, painted surfaces, marble, granite, vinyl, and enamel.
  • Rectal suspension (retention enema): Wash your hands. Shake well before using. Lie on your left side, extend the left leg and pull the right leg up towards your chest or pull both knees toward the chest. Take off the applicator tip cover and put the applicator tip gently into the rectum; point the tip toward your stomach, squeeze the bottle steadily to discharge the suspension. Wash your hands. For best results, use the suspension after you have had a bowel movement, and try to keep the suspension in the rectum for 8 hours. This is easiest if you use the enema at bedtime.

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, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use 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 using 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
  • rectal irritation, burning, itching, or soreness
  • 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.

Where can I keep my medicine?

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

Store the rectal suspension at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F), and the suppositories between 19 and 26 °C (66 and 79 °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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