Balsalazide is a prescription drug typically used to relieve symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Healthcare providers believe the drug works by decreasing the production of certain chemicals that lead to inflammation. It comes in capsule form, and is usually taken three times a day. Side effects can include abdominal pain, joint pain, and diarrhea.
Balsalazide is manufactured by Salix Pharmaceuticals.
How Does Balsalazide Work?
This drug belongs to a group of medications called aminosalicylates. It is thought that balsalazide works by inhibiting the production of inflammatory chemicals in the lining of the colon. This decreases the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, chemicals that lead to the inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis.
The balsalazide molecule itself is inactive. However, when it reaches the colon, bacteria enzymes split the molecule, releasing the active forms of the medication.
In clinical studies, after eight weeks of taking balsalazide, up to 55 percent of people had less blood in the stool, compared to just 35 percent of those not taking it. The drug also helped people have fewer trips to the toilet.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed February 5, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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