Mesalazine works by reducing inflammation of the large intestine (colon and rectum) and therefore improves symptoms related to ulcerative proctitis and colitis. There are many different preparations and brands of mesalazine (Salofalk, Asacol, Pentasa, Mezavant, Colazide, Ipocol, Mesren). Some brands have proven advantages in certain patients but overall they are similar. I tend to recommend Salofalk granules first-line because of once daily dosing.

Does it work?

There is very good evidence from many clinical trials over more than 20 years that mesalazine is of significant benefit in patients with ulcerative procto-colitis. It works best in patients with mild to moderate exacerbations (or relapses) and in maintaining remission (keeping you well). It decreases the chance of a relapse from about 70% to 30% each year.

How long does it take to work?

The benefits of mesalazine treatment may not be evident for 4 weeks.

What are the common side effects?

Fortunately many patients do not suffer any side effects with this treatment. Nausea, headache, diarrhoea and abdominal pain are the most common (1:10) side effects. Rare side effects include: pancreatitis, kidney failure, unexplained bruising, bleeding, sore throat, fever or rashes. Should you develop any of these troublesome symptoms please tell either your GP or me. Mesalazine should be avoided in patients with aspirin hypersensitivity.

Mesalazine, pregnancy and breast feeding

Negligible amounts cross placenta or are found in breast milk; therefore it appears safe during pregnancy and breast feeding.

Keep all medicines out of the reach of children. Never give any medication prescribed for you to anyone else. It may harm them even if their symptoms are the same as yours.

How is it taken?

Mesalazine may be taken as tablets (or granules) by mouth (and must be swallowed whole and not chewed), or inserted into the bottom (rectum) as foam or liquid enemas or suppositories (for patients with proctitis only).

How long will I be taking it?

Patients who respond to mesalazine usually remain on it for many months and perhaps several years as long as the blood test monitoring remains satisfactory.

Special monitoring

You will need to have blood tests (full blood count, liver & kidney function) about 3 months after starting drug and then after each year because of the drug’s rare adverse effects on the bone marrow (it suppresses production of white cells & platelets) and kidney damage (interstitial nephritis). If the blood tests become abnormal, your doctor will advise you to stop the drug and normally, the test results return to normal.

At Digestive Health City & Docklands, we work hard to provide our patients with top-class care. You will enjoy friendly, fast and modern treatment by a highly experienced gastroenterologist. We carefully review patient satisfaction and feedback, and at Digestive Health we are continuously making improvements to our services, ensuring the highest level of care possible.

Clinic Locations

City Practice
120 Old Broad Street, City, EC2N 1AR

Docklands Practice
1 West Ferry Circus, Canary Wharf, E14 4HA

For all enquiries
0203 875 9989

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@dradamharris - 3 months

Feels great to be back albeit behind a mask! WKG is offering remote and old fashioned face to face clinic and endoscopy appointments again.

@dradamharris - 6 months

Very pleased to be working as consultant physician at looking after patients from to c…

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