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Pentasa is an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.
Mesalamine is an amino-salicylate anti-inflammatory drug that inhibits your body’s inflammatory response through activity in pathways that decreases prostaglandin and leukotriene synthesis. These actions allows Pentasa to treat and maintain ulcerative colitis by reducing mucosal inflammation in your colon.
This anti-inflammatory medication is an effective form of treatment for ulcerative colitis. Pentasa has been found to be well tolerated with few serious adverse reactions and convenient once-daily dosing.
Uses and Dosage
The dose of Pentasa that is prescribed will vary depending on the individual being treated. Follow all your doctor’s instructions and read packaging labels carefully to ensure the best therapeutic results.
- Swallow tablets whole
- If unable to swallow tablets, open them and sprinkle the contents into applesauce or yogurt
- Drink plenty of fluids during treatment to prevent kidney stones
- Most adults take 1g four times a day
- Treatments can range up to 8 weeks in length
- Contact your doctor if symptoms do not improve or if they worsen
- Tell all doctors that treat you that you take Pentasa because it can affect medical tests
- Store at room temperature away from children and pets
Pentasa may cause some side effects to develop while it decreases your body’s inflammatory response to improve ulcerative colitis. Speak with your doctor for more information regarding any symptoms that you may encounter when using mesalamine.
Common Pentasa side effects:
- Burping, constipation, nausea
- Vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, gas
- Cold symptoms (stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat)
- Back pain
- Abnormal liver function tests
Serious Side Effects
Some more serious side effects may occur when using mesalamine. Stop taking Pentasa and call your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms:
- Severe stomach pain, stomach cramping, bloody diarrhea
- Fever, headache, general ill feeling
- Rash, itching, eye redness
- Bloody or tarry stools, coughing blood, vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Low white blood cell counts (fever, chills, mouth sores, skin sores, sore throat, cough, feeling light-headed, trouble breathing)
- Kidney stones (severe pain in your side and back, frequent need to urinate, foul-smelling urine, dark or cloudy urine)
- Kidney problems (increased or decreased urination, swelling, rapid weight gain)
- Liver problems (loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, tiredness, easy bruising or bleeding)
Low white blood cell counts may be more likely to occur in older adults who use Pentasa.
Do not use Pentasa if you are allergic to mesalamine or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, sulfasalazine, or salicylates. If you develop an allergic reaction, stop using this medication and contact your doctor.
Pentasa allergy symptoms may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
Avoid direct exposure to the sun or synthetic UV rays such as tanning beds while taking Pentasa if you have eczema or another skin condition. In these circumstances, mesalamine can make your skin burn more easily in the sun.
To ensure your safety when taking Pentasa, tell your doctor if you have ever had any of the following:
- Kidney stone or kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Blockage in your stomach or intestines
- Skin condition like eczema
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking Pentasa to determine the benefits and risks. It is unclear whether mesalamine will harm an unborn baby but having untreated ulcerative colitis could cause serious complications.
Consult with your doctor to determine the risks of breastfeeding while using Pentasa.
Mesalamine may cause harm to your kidneys, especially if taken alongside certain medications that are also harsh on your kidneys. These include medications for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, high blood pressure, pain, or arthritis.
Some other drugs may interact with mesalamine and cause unwanted side effects. To avoid these reactions, tell your doctor about all the medications that you take, including over the counter medicine, but especially any of the following:
Do not give mesalamine to any child without advice from your doctor.
Form and Strength
This anti-inflammatory medication is available in the form of a prolonged release tablet.
Pentasa prolonged release tablet strength:
The 500mg Pentasa tablets are available in quantities of 100 and 200.
How long does it take for Pentasa to work?
Pentasa starts working its way through your system as soon as you take your first dose, but it takes some time for mesalamine to take effect. Studies have shown that those who took 4 to 6 grams each day achieved complete or significant improvement of their ulcerative colitis symptoms within 4 weeks. Some others have taken up to 8 weeks to see complete improvement.
Is mesalamine an immunosuppressant?
Pentasa uses mesalamine to treat ulcerative colitis because it is an anti-inflammatory drug. This is different than an immunosuppressant drug because it does not affect your immune system but rather your body’s inflammatory response. Thanks to this mechanism of action, Pentasa helps reduce symptoms of UC like diarrhea, rectal bleeding, or stomach pain by decreasing painful inflammation of the stomach ulcers.
ER Tablet, Prolonged Release Tablet