Understanding Crohn Disease Medications (cont.)
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
This class of drugs includes mesalamine (Asacol, Pentasa, Rowasa), olsalazine
(Dipentum), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine, EN-Tabs). Mesalamine and olsalazine are newer agents and are generally better tolerated than
sulfasalazine. The newer aspirin-like anti-inflammatory agents are unique, because they release the active drug in specific areas of the small or large intestine, thus allowing doctors to choose a drug based on the site of inflammation.
- How aspirin-like anti-inflammatory agents work: These drugs are used in people with mild disease. Like
anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation and pain by inhibiting a variety of immune reactions in
- Who should not use these medications: Individuals who have peptic ulcer disease, severe renal failure, or allergy to aspirin or aspirinlike products should not take aspirinlike
anti-inflammatories. Those with allergy to sulfa drugs should not take sulfasalazine.
- Use: These drugs may be administered orally or by rectal enemas or suppositories.
- Drug or food interactions: Aspirinlike anti-inflammatory agents may increase the risk of bleeding when administered with other drugs that alter blood coagulation, such as heparin.
- Side effects: Aspirinlike anti-inflammatories may be toxic to blood cells and may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and/or constipation.
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