Digestive System Home > Olsalazine

Olsalazine is licensed to treat people in whom ulcerative colitis is in remission. It is believed to help keep symptoms from returning by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes -- chemicals that cause inflammation in the colon lining. The medication comes in capsule form and is generally taken twice a day. Common side effects of olsalazine include abdominal pain, joint pain, and diarrhea.

What Is Olsalazine?

Olsalazine sodium (Dipentum®) is a prescription medication that is used to treat ulcerative colitis. It is approved for use in people whose ulcerative colitis is in remission, and who cannot take sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®, Azulfidine EN-tabs®) due to side effects or other concerns. The medicine is used to prevent ulcerative colitis symptoms from returning in these people.
 
(Click What Is Olsalazine Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes Olsalazine?

Olsalazine is manufactured by UCB Pharma, Inc.
 

How Does Olsalazine Work?

Olsalazine belongs to a group of medications called aminosalicylates. The medication is believed to work by inhibiting the production of inflammatory chemicals in the lining of the colon. As a result, it decreases the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, chemicals that lead to the inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis.
 
The olsalazine molecule itself is inactive. However, when it reaches the colon, bacteria enzymes split the olsalazine molecule, releasing the active forms of the medication.
 

Effects of Olsalazine

Olsalazine has been studied in people whose ulcerative colitis is in remission (which is the time between flare-ups, when symptoms subside). After six months, just 23 percent of those taking the drug had relapsed (their symptoms had returned), compared to about 45 percent of those not taking it.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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