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

What is mesalamine oral?

Mesalamine affects a substance in the body that causes inflammation, tissue damage, and diarrhea.

Mesalamine is used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. Mesalamine is also used to prevent the symptoms of ulcerative colitis from recurring.

Some brands of mesalamine are for use only in adults, and some brands are for use in children who are at least 5 years old.

Mesalamine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about mesalamine oral?

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

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking mesalamine oral?

You should not use this medicine 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 mesalamine 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).

Some forms of mesalamine may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using this form of mesalamine if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

It is not known whether this medicine 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 mesalamine oral?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take mesalamine with a full glass of water.

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

Lialda should be taken with a meal.

Other brands of mesalamine 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 mesalamine tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole.

The extended-release capsule is specially formulated to release the medicine after it has passed through your stomach into your intestines. Breaking the pill may cause the drug to be released too early in the digestive tract.

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.

This medicine 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.

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 mesalamine oral?

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.

Mesalamine oral side effects

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

Stop using mesalamine 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 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.

What other drugs will affect mesalamine oral?

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about mesalamine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 10.01.

Date modified: October 13, 2017
Last reviewed: September 11, 2017

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