How Does Mesalamine DR (Asacol) Treat Crohn's Disease?

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects more than 1.4 million Americans. The disease can occur in any person of any age, but experts have most seen it occur in women and men between ages 15 and 35. The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease is excruciating stomach pain. The pain may be similar to menstrual cramps, and it can be persistent or intermittent. Additional symptoms a person with Crohn’s disease may have are diarrhea, decreased appetite and weight loss. Doctors prescribe a wide variety of drugs to manage the symptoms of Chron’s disease. Mesalamine DR or Asacol is one of many medicinal solutions.

What Is Asacol?

Asacol is the brand name for Mesalamine DR. Asacol is in a class of drugs that professionals call anti-inflammatory drugs. It contains an acidic substance called 5-ASA that bears some resemblance to aspirin. Asacol has a protective coating on it that prevents the body from digesting it until it reaches its correct destination, which is the colon. Once the pill reaches the colon, then it releases the 5-ASA. The 5-ASA element is unique in its workings. It does not act as an aspirin or a traditional anti-inflammatory drug. Instead, it focuses on preventing the colon from releasing such substances as cytokines and lipid mediators. Such substances are responsible for inflammation in the colon.

Candidates for Asacol

As with any medication, a doctor must screen a patient before he or she prescribes that person Asacol. The drug can work well for some people but cause other people pain and suffering. Asacol may not be safe for a person who has kidney disease, heart disease or liver disease. Additionally, a person who has pyloric stenosis should stay clear of the drug. A thorough examination is necessary before a person commits to taking a new drug.

Side Effects of Asacol

New patients who are taking Asacol should look out for several potentially dangerous side effects. One of the most common side effects of Asacol is severe stomach pain. Other painful conditions that may occur are flu symptoms, chest pains, bloody stools, nausea, swelling, weight gain and difficulty urinating. A mixture of the symptoms can occur, but not every patient will have symptoms.

Doctors usually ask their patients to take Asacol three times per day. A person can opt to take it with or without food although coating the stomach is always best. Patients must take the pill in its native form and avoid crushing or breaking it.

How Effective Is Asacol?

A number of previous Asacol users have praised it for its effectiveness. The drug has gotten commentary on its diarrhea prevention, anti-inflammatory qualities, and its ability to help a person to stay in remission. Additionally, people have stated that Asacol works for them in other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. A person who is missing work or family time because of stomach pain can ask his or her doctor about trying Asacol. The probability is high that that the Asacol will improve that person’s quality of life.


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