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.
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.
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 April 20, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed April 20, 2007.
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