Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a debilitating disease. Patients with UC go through daily rituals of abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea. Like diabetes and hypertension, it is a lifelong disease.

Because of the symptoms of UC, the quality of life suffers. Patients miss time at work and the productivity declines. They feel less confident about social interactions and having healthy sexual relations. They sometimes develop anxiety and depression.

It can cost a sufferer as much as $7,948 annually, with 40% due to hospitalization and 35% due to outpatient care.

UC has no cure but Pentasa can lessen the symptoms and improve quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about this medicine.

Pentasa Is a Relative of Aspirin

The generic name of Pentasa is mesalazine or mesalamine. It belongs to a group of anti-inflammatory drugs known as aminosalicylates (5-ASA) which is a derivative of aspirin.

People with allergies to aspirin and other salicylates should not take mesalazine. This is because mesalazine has a similar chemical structure to aspirin.

Like Crohn’s disease, UC is an inflammatory bowel disease. Aminosalicylates stop the inflammation to keep the disruptive symptoms under control. Mesalazine can induce and prolong remission for mild to moderate cases of ulcerative colitis.

It Is a Topical Drug

When we hear the word ‘topical,’ we think of ointments and creams that we apply to the skin. Mesalazine works in the same way, in the sense that it acts locally on the lining of the large intestines.

Unlike other ingested drugs, it doesn’t get absorbed into the bloodstream. In fact, you don’t want it to get absorbed or it will diminish the effectiveness. You want to preserve it until it reaches the large intestines so it can do its magic.

Not All Preparations Are Created Equal

How mesalazine is delivered to the target site is the basis for the design of different formulations. Some are azo-bonded to another molecule and released by bacterial enzymes in the colon. Some are ph-dependent to survive the acidic environment of the stomach and proximal small bowel.

Pentasa has a unique design that is time-dependent. An ethylcellulose semi-permeable membrane encapsulates microspheres of mesalazine. As the microspheres enter the intestines, the moisture in the small and large intestines will gradually release the drug.

This structure offers several advantages over the other preparations. Accelerated intestinal transit, as seen in diarrhea, can decrease the time for activation by colonic bacteria. This decreases the efficacy of azo-bonded preparations.

It is also not dependent on luminal pH. Patients with ulcerative colitis have generally lowered colonic pH. It creates a potential issue with ph-dependent formulations which is designed to survive a low pH environment.

Side Effects

Mesalazine is a relatively safe drug but does have some side effects. These include mild nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Other symptoms are flu-like symptoms, headache, back pain, and rash.

Improve Your Quality of Life

Ulcerative colitis doesn’t have to cripple your life. It is manageable now because of drugs like Pentasa.

We can help you find the best price for this drug with our online search tools. Also, please check our blog for more information about the latest medications today.