Information on Tablets A-Z
Brand Names:Asacol; Pentasa; Rowasa
Medication prescribed:Mesalamine, an anti-inflammatory medicine, is used to treat ulcerative colitis, a condition in which the bowel is inflamed. Mesalamine reduces bowel inflammation, diarrhea (stool frequency), rectal bleeding, and stomach pain. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used:Mesalamine comes as a tablet and capsule to take by mouth and suppositories and an enema to use in the rectum. The tablet form usually is taken three times a day, and the capsule form usually is taken four times a day. The suppository form usually is used twice a day, and the enema usually is used once a day at bedtime. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take mesalamine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Swallow the tablets or capsules whole; do not cut, crush, or chew them. The enema is a liquid to be delivered directly into the rectum. It comes in a disposable bottle with an applicator. Each bottle contains one dose. Remove the bottle from the protective foil pouch by tearing it or cutting it with a scissors. Be careful not to puncture the bottle. Read the patient instructions that come with mesalamine. If you are to use the enema, follow these steps: Empty your bowels as much as possible. Shake the bottle well. Hold the bottle at the neck so that the medicine will not leak. Remove the protective cover from the applicator tip. Lie on your left side with your lower (left) leg straight and your right leg bent toward your chest for balance or kneel on a bed, resting your upper chest and one arm on the bed. Gently insert the applicator tip into your rectum, pointing it slightly toward your navel. If this insertion causes pain or irritation, try lubricating the applicator with K-Y Lubricating Jelly or petroleum jelly (Vaseline) before inserting it. Grasp the bottle firmly and tilt it slightly so that the nozzle is aimed toward your back. Squeeze the bottle steadily to release the medicine. Withdraw the applicator and discard the bottle. Remain in this position for at least 30 minutes to allow the medicine to spread through your bowels. Try to keep the medicine in for about 8 hours (while you sleep). If you are to insert a suppository, follow these steps: If the suppository feels soft, hold it under cold, running water for 1 minute. Then remove the wrapper. Dip the tip of the suppository in water. Lie down on your left side and raise your right knee to your chest. (A left-handed person should lie on the right side and raise the left knee.) Using your finger, insert the suppository into the rectum, about 1/2 to 1 inch in infants and children and 1 inch in adults. Keep it in place for 1-3 hours. Get up after about 15 minutes. Then wash your hands thoroughly before you resume your normal activities. Mesalamine must be used regularly to be effective. You may need to use it for up to 6 weeks before your symptoms improve.
Special precautions:Before taking mesalamine, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to mesalamine, sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), aspirin, sulfite preservatives, or any other drugs. tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Medipren, Motrin, and Nuprin), other arthritis medications, and vitamins. tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart or kidney disease or diabetes. tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking mesalamine, call your doctor.
If I forget a dose:Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects:Although side effects from mesalamine are not common, they can occur. Temporary hair loss may occur with mesalamine treatment; this effect is harmless. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: fatigue weakness headache general feeling of illness or discomfort dizziness leg or joint pain and stiffness back pain gas upset stomach constipation If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: rash or hives itching difficulty breathing or swallowing fever increased diarrhea cramps stomach pain bloody diarrhea rectal bleeding
What storage conditions:Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
Other information:Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to mesalamine. Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
More information: Mesalamine