Pentasa (mesalamine) is an extended-release prescription medication designed to treat patients suffering from mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. Its advanced formulation targets the site of inflammation in the colon, reducing the symptoms and aiding in both inducing and maintaining remission. This targeted-release medication ensures minimal systemic absorption and directs the therapeutic effect right where it’s needed in the gastrointestinal tract.

Precautions and Warnings With Pentasa

Before starting Pentasa, discussing your medical history with your healthcare provider, especially any kidney or liver problems or a history of pancreatitis, is vital. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also consult their doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks.

Considering and discussing these precautions with your healthcare provider will maximize safety and minimize risks. Monitoring your intake and health with your healthcare provider may be necessary to check the medication’s effect and adjust the dosage.

Here is a list of precautions and warnings to note:

  • Pentasa may affect kidney and liver function and may cause an elevated risk of kidney stones. Regular monitoring through blood tests or other assessments may be necessary if you have a history of kidney or liver issues.
  • While rare, some patients have reported worsening heart conditions while taking mesalamine. Discuss any heart-related issues with your physician before starting treatment.
  • Be sure to use sunscreen when taking Pentasa. While taking Pentasa, being cautious of direct sun exposure is crucial. Though not a common side effect, some patients may find their skin more sensitive to sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburn.

Pentasa Side Effects

Like most medications, side effects may occur while taking Pentasa. Common side effects could include digestive issues such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. More severe effects can occur, so contact your doctor if you experience significant changes in your symptoms.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects include:

  • Constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms

Severe Side Effects

Other, more severe side effects that affect up to one in 1,000 patients include:

  • Watch out for changes in urine color or the amount of urine produced. This can indicate kidney problems and should be addressed immediately.
  • Skin rashes or swelling of the throat, lips, and face.
  • Difficulty breathing or wheeziness.
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising.

Drug Interactions With Pentasa 

It’s essential to be mindful of how Pentasa interacts with other medications you might be taking.

Additionally, Pentasa may interact with 6-mercaptopurine, a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. Like Azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine activates compounds that can lead to immune system suppression. When used in tandem with Pentasa, there is a risk that the immunosuppressive effects could increase, leading to an increased risk of myelosuppression.

Here is a list of different drugs that interact with this medication.

  • Pentasa is likely to interact with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin, which can aggravate gastrointestinal side effects or reduce the effectiveness of the drug.
  • Taking Pentasa with other medications that affect kidney function, such as ACE inhibitors or diuretics, may increase the risk of kidney-related side effects.
  • Pentasa can interact with the immunosuppressive medication Azathioprine, often used to manage autoimmune diseases. When these two drugs are used together, the potential for increased myelosuppression goes up. This means that blood cell production could be decreased.

Strengths and Dosages of Pentasa

Pentasa is prescribed in various strengths based on patient needs. Dosing schedules differ by dose or whether the patient is experiencing an acute attack or requires maintenance to prevent future ones. A doctor will determine the appropriate dose based on the patient’s condition. Pentasa is available for adults and children, and dosages differ based on age bracket and severity of condition, as outlined in the tables below.

Dosages for Adults

To treat a colitis attack500 mg or four 1-gram tabletsOnce daily or broken into 2-3 doses
To prevent future attacks500 mg or two 1-gram tabletsOnce daily

Dosages for Children Six and Under

A doctor will determine the appropriate dose for pediatric patients based on the child’s weight. Children under 88 pounds, or 40 kg, are typically given half of a standard adult dose, and children weighing more than 88 pounds, or 40 kg, will often be prescribed a standard adult dose as outlined above.

Under 88 lbs. (40 kg)250mg or 2 1g tabletsOnce daily or broken into 2-3 doses
Above 88 lbs. (40 kg) to treat a colitis attack500 mg or four 1-gram tabletsOnce daily or broken into 2-3 doses
Above 88 lbs. (40 kg) to prevent future attacks500 mg or two 1-gram tabletsOnce daily

Remember always to take Pentasa on an empty stomach and give yourself a window for one to two hours before or after you eat.

FAQs of Pentasa

If you are a current customer and have questions about Pentasa, feel free to contact us and we will connect you with a licensed pharmacist.

Who makes Pentasa?

Pentasa is manufactured by Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

How long does Pentasa take to work for ulcerative colitis?

The timeframe for experiencing the therapeutic effects of Pentasa in treating ulcerative colitis varies among patients. Some individuals may notice an improvement in their symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks of starting the treatment.

What is the difference between Pentasa and Mesalamine?

Pentasa is the drug’s brand name, and the active ingredient is mesalamine, used to treat ulcerative colitis.

How long does Pentasa stay in your system?

The duration Pentasa remains in your system can vary based on individual metabolism and dosage levels. Typically, Pentasa has a half-life of approximately 2 to 3 hours in healthy individuals, meaning half of the drug is eliminated from the body during this timeframe. However, because the medication is designed to release slowly in the digestive tract to target inflammation, its therapeutic effects can last longer. Complete elimination from the body may take several days, depending on various factors, including the patient’s kidney function and the overall health of their digestive system.

Can Pentasa cause constipation?

Though not as commonly reported as other gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea or abdominal pain, constipation can occur in some patients. This is due to how the medication interacts with the bowel’s lining, potentially altering bowel movements.

Can I take Pentasa while pregnant or breastfeeding?

No studies have shown that taking Pentasa can negatively impact pregnancy or breastfeeding. As always, let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before starting Pentasa or any medication.

What is the cost of Pentasa in America?

The cost of Pentasa in the United States can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as insurance coverage, pharmacy location, and dosage required. At MyRx Outlet, 28 1-gram Pentasa tablets (shipping from Canada) start at $68.57.

Why is Pentasa so expensive?

Pentasa’s cost is due to several factors, among them being the complexities involved in its manufacturing process and fluctuations in the pharmaceutical market. Since Pentasa contains mesalamine, a specific delivery system is required to ensure the medication is released directly into the colon. The development and maintenance of this advanced system significantly contribute to the overall cost of the drug.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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