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  • Writer's picturedr. Jerome Groopman

Asacol for Ulcerative Colitis Treatment: A Comprehensive Guide


Asacol, with its active ingredient mesalamine, is a cornerstone treatment for ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum. This article provides an insightful look into Asacol, discussing its therapeutic uses, mechanism of action, dosage guidelines, potential side effects, and the precautions patients should be aware of.

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What is Asacol?

Asacol is a brand name for the drug mesalamine, also known as 5-aminosalicylic acid or 5-ASA. It is designed to treat mild to moderate flare-ups of ulcerative colitis and is also used to maintain remission in patients. Asacol is part of the aminosalicylate drug class and comes in delayed-release tablets, ensuring the medication is directly targeted to the inflamed tissue in the colon.

Uses of Asacol

The primary use of Asacol is the treatment and management of ulcerative colitis. It helps in:

  • Reducing symptoms of UC, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea

  • Maintaining remission and preventing future flare-ups

  • Improving the overall quality of life for patients with UC

How Asacol Works

Asacol works at the site of inflammation in the colon. Mesalamine has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and irritation in the lining of the colon. It inhibits certain enzymes and substances that cause inflammation, thus providing relief from the symptoms of UC.

Dosage and Administration

Asacol's dosage varies based on the severity of the condition and the patient's response to treatment. It is usually taken orally, with doses divided throughout the day. For the most accurate dosage and administration instructions, patients should consult with their healthcare provider.

Side Effects of Asacol: An Overview

Asacol, known generically as mesalamine, is a medication commonly used to treat and manage ulcerative colitis. While it is effective in reducing inflammation in the colon, like all medications, it can have side effects. Patients considering or currently taking Asacol should be aware of these potential adverse effects and discuss any concerns with their healthcare provider.

Common Side Effects The more common side effects of Asacol may include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping

  • Diarrhea or loose stools

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Gas or bloating

  • Fever

  • Sore throat or other flu-like symptoms

These side effects are generally mild and often resolve as the body adjusts to the medication.

Serious Side Effects Although less common, Asacol can cause serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Severe stomach pain or cramping

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Persistent fever

  • Chest pain or shortness of breath

  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

  • Severe skin reactions

  • Changes in urine output or color

  • Elevated heart rate

Allergic Reactions In rare cases, Asacol can cause allergic reactions, which may present as:

  • Rash or hives

  • Itching

  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Patients experiencing signs of an allergic reaction should seek emergency medical help immediately.

Long-Term Side Effects Long-term use of Asacol may lead to:

  • Kidney problems, including interstitial nephritis

  • Liver function abnormalities

  • Blood disorders, such as anemia

  • Hair loss

Regular monitoring through blood tests may be recommended to check for these issues.

Interactions with Other Medications Asacol can interact with other medications, which could either increase side effects or reduce the effectiveness of treatment. It's important to inform your healthcare provider of all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.

Precautions and Warnings

Before taking Asacol, patients should inform their healthcare provider of any allergies, kidney or liver issues, or existing health conditions. Caution is advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and may require a discussion on the risk-benefit ratio of taking Asacol.

Why a Doctor's Consultation is Necessary:

Consulting a doctor is essential for several reasons:

  1. Accurate Diagnosis: Medications like Asacol are used for specific conditions, and only a doctor can diagnose your condition accurately.

  2. Personalized Dosage: The dosage of medications depends on many factors including the stage of the disease, patient's weight and age, as well as other medications being taken.

  3. Monitoring Side Effects: A doctor can determine which side effects are normal and when it may be necessary to stop taking the medication.

  4. Managing Drug Interactions: The doctor will consider all other medications you are taking to avoid unwanted interactions.

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Where to Buy:

Asacol can typically be purchased in the following places:

  • Pharmacies: Most pharmacies will have Asacol in stock, and you can buy it with a doctor's prescription.

  • Online Pharmacies: You can order Asacol from online pharmacies, but it's important to ensure they are licensed and trustworthy.

Can You Trust Online Pharmacies When Buying Such a Medication:

Trusting online pharmacies depends on several factors:

  • Licensing: Ensure the online pharmacy has the appropriate license to sell pharmaceuticals.

  • Customer Reviews: Look for reviews of the pharmacy to see what reputation and history it has.

  • Authenticity Checks: Always verify the authenticity of the medication. Reputable online pharmacies should provide information about the manufacturer and expiration date of the product.

  • Doctor Consultation: Before purchasing any medication online, you should consult with a doctor who can confirm the necessity and authenticity of the medication.

Overall, buying from online pharmacies can be convenient and often more affordable, but it is important to carefully select where you purchase to avoid counterfeit products and to ensure safety and effectiveness of your treatment.


Asacol remains a valuable medication for those battling ulcerative colitis. With its targeted anti-inflammatory action, it offers relief from symptoms and aids in maintaining remission. As with any medication, it's crucial to follow the advice of a healthcare provider and be vigilant about side effects and interactions with other drugs.

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