Asacol, also known as mesalamine, is a prescription medication used to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It belongs to a class of drugs called aminosalicylates, which work by reducing inflammation in the intestines.
Asacol comes in the form of oral tablets and capsules. The tablets are coated with a special pH-sensitive acrylic polymer that helps deliver the active ingredient to the colon, where it is most effective in treating the symptoms of IBD. Each tablet contains 400 milligrams of mesalamine.
Asacol should not be taken if you are allergic to mesalamine or to any of the inactive ingredients in the medication. Before taking Asacol, inform your doctor if you have any medical conditions, such as kidney disease or liver problems. It is also important to let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as the safety of Asacol in these situations has not been established.
Asacol may interact with other medications, so it is essential to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are currently taking. Additionally, Asacol may decrease your ability to fight infections, so it is important to avoid contact with people who have contagious diseases while taking this medication.
Managing Side Effects
Common side effects of Asacol may include diarrhea, headache, nausea, stomach cramps, and gas. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. If you experience severe or persistent side effects, contact your doctor.
In rare cases, Asacol may cause a serious condition called acute intolerance syndrome. This condition is characterized by worsening symptoms of colitis, severe cramping, abdominal pain, fever, and sometimes rectal bleeding. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking Asacol and immediately report them to your doctor.
How to Take It
Asacol should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The usual recommended dosage is 800 milligrams (two tablets) taken three times a day for six weeks. After six weeks, the dosage is usually decreased to 800 milligrams (two tablets) taken two times a day.
If you miss a dose of Asacol, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
An overdose of Asacol is unlikely to occur. However, if you suspect an overdose, contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention immediately.
What to Watch Out For
Asacol may interact with other medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking to avoid potential interactions.
Additionally, Asacol may interfere with certain laboratory tests, such as urine screenings for ketones. Make sure to inform the laboratory personnel and your healthcare providers that you are taking Asacol before undergoing any tests.
- Can Asacol be crushed or chewed? Asacol tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed.
- Can Asacol be taken during pregnancy? The safety of Asacol during pregnancy has not been established. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor.
- Can I consume alcohol while taking Asacol? It is generally recommended to avoid alcohol while taking Asacol, as it may worsen certain side effects of the medication.
- How long does it take for Asacol to start working? The onset of Asacol’s effects may vary from person to person. It may take several weeks of regular use to experience the full benefits of the medication.
- What should I do if I accidentally take more than the prescribed dose of Asacol? If you accidentally take more than the prescribed dose of Asacol, contact your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.