Generic Name: mesalamine (oral) (me SAL a meen)
Brand Names: Apriso, Asacol HD, Delzicol, Lialda, Pentasa
Medically reviewed by Sophia Entringer, PharmD. Last updated on Apr 15, 2019.
What is Pentasa?
Pentasa is used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease in adults.
Pentasa is also used to prevent the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease from recurring.
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 Pentasa 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 Pentasa is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
a stomach condition called pyloric stenosis;
liver disease; or
a history of blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines).
It is not known whether Pentasa 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 Pentasa?
Take Pentasa 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.
Pentasa 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 Pentasa controlled-release capsule. The capsule contains controlled-release beads that are especially formulated to release the medicine after it has passed through your stomach into your intestines.
Pentasa controlled-release capsules may be swallowed whole, or alternatively, the capsule may be opened and the controlled-release beads sprinkled onto applesauce or yogurt. The entire contents should be consumed immediately. The capsules and the controlled-release beads must not be crushed or chewed.
Call your doctor if your ulcerative colitis symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.
Pentasa 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 Pentasa?
Ask your doctor before using an antacid, and use only the type your doctor recommends. Some antacids may decrease the efficacy of Pentasa.
Pentasa side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Pentasa: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Pentasa 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 Pentasa side effects may include:
nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation;
runny or stuffy nose, sinus pain, sore throat;
headache, back pain;
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 Pentasa?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
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.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Pentasa 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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- Drug class: 5-aminosalicylates