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Asacol

Generic Name: mesalamine (oral) (me SAL a meen)
Brand Names: Apriso, Asacol HD, Delzicol, Lialda, Pentasa

Medically reviewed on October 5, 2017.

What is Asacol?

Asacol (mesalamine) affects a substance in the body that causes inflammation, tissue damage, and diarrhea.

Asacol is used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis in patients 5 years of age and older.

Asacol is also used to prevent the symptoms of ulcerative colitis from recurring.

Asacol HD delayed-release 800mg tablets are used to treat moderately active ulcerative colitis in adults only.

Important information

Call your doctor at once if you have severe stomach pain, cramping, bloody diarrhea (may occur with fever, headache, and skin rash).

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Asacol if you are allergic to mesalamine, aspirin, sulfasalazine, or salicylates (such as Nuprin Backache Caplet, Kaopectate, KneeRelief, Pamprin Cramp Formula, Pepto-Bismol, Tricosal, Trilisate, and others).

To make sure Asacol is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a stomach condition called pyloric stenosis;

  • heart disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease; or

  • a history of blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines).

It is not known whether Asacol will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Mesalamine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

How should I take Asacol?

Take Asacol exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take the tablets with a full glass of water.

Take Asacol HD on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

Asacol delayed-release 400mg tablets can be taken with or without food. Follow your doctor's instructions or the directions on your medicine label.

Do not crush, break, or chew a delayed-release tablet. Swallow the tablet whole.

The enteric-coated tablet has a special coating to protect your stomach. Breaking the pill could damage this coating.

Tell your doctor if you find undissolved tablets in your stool.

Call your doctor if your ulcerative colitis symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.

Asacol can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are taking mesalamine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Asacol?

Ask your doctor before using an antacid, and use only the type your doctor recommends. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb mesalamine.

Asacol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Asacol: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Asacol and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, cramping, bloody diarrhea;

  • fever, headache, skin rash;

  • bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • kidney problems - little or no urination, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or

  • liver problems - loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, tiredness, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common Asacol side effects may include:

  • nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation;

  • runny or stuffy nose, sinus pain, sore throat;

  • flu-like symptoms;

  • headache, back pain;

  • rash; or

  • abnormal liver function tests.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Asacol?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • azathioprine;

  • mercaptopurine; or

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) - aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with mesalamine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Asacol only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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