Information for those with Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis Medications - Mesalazine

Mesalazine - the most well known brand of which is Asacol is the first line of attack in both the treatment and maintenance of Ulcerative Colitis. It is part of a family of drugs called aminosalicylates - and can be delivered either orally or as an enema (know as topically - to the "outside" surface of the bowel). The drug is not effective immediately - and it is usually 2-3 weeks before the full benefits are seen.

Oral Mesalazine/Asacol

Oral mesalazine tablets used to treat Ulcerative Colitis are coated with an enteric coating. This coating protects the drug through the stomach and small intestine - and releases it when it reaches the less acid environment of the Colon. This form of mesalazine works best when the stools are reasonably solid - as when there is severe diarrhea the drug often passes through the colon with the enteric coating intact - so the drug isn't released.

Mesalazine Enemas

Mesalazine enemas are used to get the mesalazine directly in contact with both the rectum and descending colon. The best are probably Asacol foam enemas - capable of reaching nearly the whole of the descending colon. So long as these enemas can be retained for a reasonable time before you pass them they are extremely effective. They are particularly useful in the case of diarrhea - where oral mesalazine can become less effective


Colazide is a more precise way of delivering mesalazine to the colon than enteric coated tablets. The enteric tablets rely upon change of acidity to release the drug - meaning that it can often be released in the small intestine. Colazide is mesalazine chemically bound to prevent it's absorption. Bacteria only found in the colon attack this chemical bond - and release the mesalazine.

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