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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Mesalamine
Mesalamine
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(me SAL a meen)

Brand Names
Asacol®; Canasa®; Pentasa®; Rowasa®

Therapeutic Categories
5-Aminosalicylic Acid Derivative

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to sulfasalazine, sulfites, aspirin or another salicylate, mesalamine, or any other part of the medicine.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
  • The capsule or tablet is used for mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis.
  • The rectal forms (suppository, suspension) are used mild to moderate disease at the far end of the colon where they can reach.


How does it work?

  • Mesalamine works to decrease the irritation and inflammation caused by the ulcerative colitis.


How is it best taken?

  • Swallow tablet or capsule whole. Do not chew, break, or crush. Take with a whole glass of water.
  • Use suppository or suspension rectally only.
  • Shake suspension well first. Use at bedtime.
  • Keep suspension in rectum as long as possible.
  • Take foil off rectal suppository and insert pointed end first. Do not handle too much. It will melt in your hand.
  • You could be on both a tablet or capsule and a rectal form at the same time. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Take entire prescription as directed, even if feeling better.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not take a double dose or extra doses.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • The rectal suspension can stain clothing, other fabrics, flooring, painted surfaces, marble, granite, vinyl, and enamel. Be careful where you give yourself this medicine.
  • If you are 65 or older, you may have more side effects.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are on warfarin.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Do not use if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Belly pain and cramps.
  • Headache. Mild pain medicine may help.
  • Belching or burping.
  • Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Rarely, liver problems.


What should I monitor?

  • Check kidney function before starting. The dose is adjusted to your kidney function.
  • Follow up with healthcare provider.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • If you see tablet bits in the stool.
  • Cramping, belly pain, or bloody diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Any rash.
  • No improvement in condition or feeling worse.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store in a tight container at room temperature.
  • Keep rectal suspension in foil until ready to use. If rectal suspension is dark brown, throw away.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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