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These medicines are used to control bowel inflammation in conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. This article profiles the medication and its side effects.


Mesalazine: Asacol, Pentasa

Olsalazine: Dipentum

Sulphasalazine: Colizine, Salazopyrin

USE: To control bowel inflammation

These medicines are called aminosalicylates, which are used for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) and to maintain remission. They work by acting locally in the bowel, exhibiting an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effect on the gut wall.

Aminosalicylates come in a tablet, suppository and enema form, where the latter are more suitable for rectal and anal inflammation (esp. proctitis).


  • Previous allergy to salicylates
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Kidney impairment
  • Blood clotting disorders

Side effects:

Usually dose related anorexia, diarrhoea, heartburn, nausea and headache.

Hypersensitivity reactions include skin rash, blood disorders (prolonged bleeding), and lowered sperm count.

Rarely, abdominal pain and lung problems may occur.

Contact your doctor if unexplained bleeding, bruising, sore throat, fever or malaise occurs (stop treatment immediately).


Absorption of digoxin is reduced with sulphasalazine (Colizine, Salazopyrin).

Patient information:

  • Follow the instructions carefully on the label of this medicine
  • Do not stop taking this medicine unless directed by your doctor
  • Sulphasalazine preparations may colour your urine (orange/ yellow) and stain contact lenses
  • Enteric-coated tablets are swallowed whole, not crushed or chewed
  • Remove foil from suppository and insert into rectum as directed (flat end first)
  • Enemas are inserted into the rectum with nozzle and then squeeze contents as directed
  • Contact your doctor if side effects are severe (unexplained bleeding, bruising etc.) or ongoing.

See also:

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