Read all about


What is 5 - Aminosalicylates?

5- ASA or 5-Aminosalicylates refers to a group of medications used to control the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases. These medicines help in treating conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This group of medicine includes mesalazine, balsalazide, sulfasalazine, and olsalazine. They come in various forms and brand names. They come in tablet or liquid form, which is taken orally, liquid or foam enemas, and suppository that is inserted in the rectum.

More information

What are 5-Aminosalicylates for?

The type of Aminosalicylate that you will be given will depend on your diagnosis and the kind of inflammation you have in your gut. It helps keep patients with ulcerative colitis, prevent remission, prevent a flare-up, and to keep symptoms away. 

Similarly, this group of medication is used to manage Crohn’s disease flare-ups. However, it is not commonly used for the treatment of this condition and is not considered as effective as other treatments for such conditions.     

Patients with ulcerative colitis under aminosalicylate medication will also reduce the risks of developing bowel cancers. Likewise, it is also used for treatment of some types of arthritis.   

How 5 – Aminosalicylates Work  

The exact way these medicines work is not fully understood, but it is thought that they take effect on the cells that line the gut. This medication changes the way the cells release chemicals such as cytokines. Certain chemicals in the stomach can cause it to become inflamed; thus, 5-aminosalicylates can prevent this from happening and reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases.

What are the Different Types of Aminosalicylates? 

Aminosalicylate medications contain the 5-ASA or 5-Aminosalicylic acid as its active ingredient. However, a type of aminosalicylate, the Mesalazine, has six available brand names, and each has a different make. 

Some brands such as Ipocol, Salofak, and Asacol has a special coating that easily dissolves to release the 5-ASA at a specific acidity level in the gut. On the other hand, the Pentasa tablet has tiny granules and the active ingredient is released gradually on the length of the intestine. Among these types, the active ingredient is released all along the colon. 

For other types, such as Olsalazine and Balsalazide, it contains a special chemical bond that keeps the active ingredient. It is broken by natural bacteria in the colon to work on the inflamed portion of the gut. 

Likewise, Sulfasalazine contains additional molecules called sulfapyridine. Some people are not allowed to take the medication with this ingredient. 

How You Can Treat Your Symptoms Effectively

There are slight differences in how these medications are manufactured, and how they are taken will address various areas of the gut where it is inflamed. To help treat symptoms effectively, doctors may prescribe a specific type of Aminosalicylates. For instance, an aminosalicylate enema or suppository will be given for those that have a condition with the rectum. 

Tablets with 5-Aminosalicylates as active ingredients will be prescribed if the infection is located higher in the gut. Similarly, Dipentum and Colazide are medications that target the colon. Likewise, drugs such as Asacol and Mesren address inflammation in the last portion of the small intestine, while Penstasa is made to work on the entire part of the gut.