Mesalamine (Pentasa) is an anti-inflammatory agent used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, proctitis, and protosigmoiditis. It is also used to prevent the symptoms of ulcerative colitis from recurring.

How should it be used?

  • Take with a full glass of water.
  • Take with or without food.
  • Extended-release capsules should be taken with a meal.
  • The capsule is made to start working when it gets into the intestines, so do not break open the capsule.
  • Do not crush, break, or chew the capsule.
  • Swallow the capsule whole.

Special Precautions/Instructions

Before you start taking this medicine, tell your doctor about any of the following:

  • All of the medications (including over the counter), vitamins, herbal products, and supplements you are taking.
  • Are allergic to salicylates (such as aspirin), mesalamine, or anything in this medication:
    • -mesalamine, acetylated monoglyceride, castor oil, colloidal silicon dioxide, ethylcellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, starch, stearic acid, sugar, talc, white wax, FD&C Blue #1, gelatin, titanium dioxide, and other ingredients.
  • Have kidney or liver problems
  • Have a stomach blockage.
  • Are pregnant, plant to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
  • Have a condition where you might develop myocarditis or pericarditis.

Side Effects

This medication in generally well tolerated, and most side effects are mild. The most common side effects include: diarrhea, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, upset stomach, vomiting, and rash.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience signs of an allergic reaction including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling sick
  • Fever, shivering/chills, rash
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Kidney problems (changes in the amount of urine or color of urine)
  • Tiredness, dizziness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Trouble breathing

Storage Conditions

This medication should be stored at 77 degrees F, up to a maximum of 86 degrees F (store at room temperature).


Call the national poison control center 1-800-222-1222 or 911 in the event of overdose. Symptoms of an overdose include vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, fever, chills, and other signs of infection.

Pediatric Use

The safety and efficacy of this drug in pediatric patients have not yet been established.

Additional Information

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