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Asacol (Generic Mesalamine)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Mesalamine is used to treat ulcerative colitis, a disorder that results in swelling and ulcers in the lining of the colon and rectum, as well as to maintain symptom relief. Mesalamine belongs to the group of drugs known as anti-inflammatory agents. It functions by preventing the body from generating a certain chemical that could lead to inflammation.

How should this medicine be used?

Mesalamine is available as a delayed-release tablet, a delayed-release capsule, a controlled-release capsule, and an extended-release (long-acting) capsule to be taken orally. The delayed-release tablet releases the medication in the gut where its effects are needed. Depending on your condition and how well your symptoms are being managed, your doctor will advise you on how frequently to take your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Follow the mesalamine directions exactly. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Do not break, chew, or crush the delayed-release tablets or capsules; instead, swallow them whole. Be careful not to damage the delayed-release pills’ protective coating.

Even if you feel better at the start of your treatment, keep taking mesalamine until the end of your prescription. Stop taking mesalamine only after consulting your doctor.

Other uses for this medicine

Other prescriptions for this drug are possible. For more information, consult your physician or pharmacist.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking mesalamine,

  • You should let your doctor and pharmacist know if you have any allergies to mesalamine, balsalazide (Colazal, Giazo), olsalazine (Dipentum), salicylate painkillers like aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate, diflunisal, magnesium salicylate (Doan’s, others), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), other medications, or any of the ingredients Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products that you are now taking or intend to use. Incorporate any of the following: Aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), calcium carbonate (Tums), magnesium hydroxide (Rolaids), aluminium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide (Maalox), azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran), or mercaptopurine (Purinethol). Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a closer eye on you for adverse effects.
  • Inform your doctor if you have or have ever had liver or kidney problems, pericarditis (swelling of the sac around the heart), or myocarditis (swelling of the heart muscle). Inform your doctor if you have or have previously had a gastrointestinal obstruction if you intend to take the delayed-release tablets or capsules (a blockage in your stomach or intestine).
  • If you are breastfeeding a child or intend to become pregnant, let your doctor know. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking mesalamine.
  • You should be aware that mesalamine could result in a severe reaction. It may be challenging to distinguish between a reaction to the medicine and a flare-up (episode of symptoms) of your disease because many of the symptoms of this reaction are similar to those of ulcerative colitis. If you suffer any or all of the following signs, contact your doctor right away: stomach cramps, rash, a fever, headache, bloody diarrhoea, or weakness.
  • You should be aware that the extended release capsules contain aspartame, which converts to phenylalanine in the case of people with phenylketonuria (PKU), an inherited disorder that necessitates adherence to a particular diet to prevent mental impairment.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Mesalamine could have negative effects. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Pain, aching, tightness, or stiffness in the muscles or joints
  • Back ache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Burping
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Mouth ache
  • Itching
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Acne
  • Minimal hair loss
  • A diminished appetite

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if you encounter any of the following signs or any of those detailed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Tarry or black stools
  • Bloody poop
  • Vomiting something that resembles coffee grinds
  • The body’s any region swelling

Other negative effects of mesalamine might occur. If you have any strange side effects while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right once.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excess heat, light, and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for additional information.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

You might find the tablet shell, or a piece of the tablet shell, in your stool if you’re taking delayed-release mesalamine tablets. Describe this to your doctor if it occurs regularly.

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. Before and during your therapy, your doctor could request specific laboratory testing.

Inform the lab staff and your doctor that you are taking mesalamine prior to any laboratory test.

No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Apriso®
  • Asacol®
  • Asacol HD®
  • Delzicol®
  • Lialda®
  • Pentasa®
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