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What are aminosalicylates?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Aminosalicylates are drugs related to aspirin that help reduce inflammation caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Mesalamine is the most commonly used aminosalicylate. It can be taken by mouth, as a rectal suppository, or as an enema. Other aminosalicylates are balsalazide (Colazal, Giazo), olsalazine (Dipentum), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine). These drugs are taken by mouth.

Different forms of aminosalicylate drugs target specific parts of the digestive tract. Their use is based on the person's pattern of inflammation. Mesalamine suppositories (Canasa) and enemas (Rowasa) act mainly on the lower colon and rectum. Mesalamine delayed- or extended-release pills (Apriso, Asacol, Delzicol, Lialda) and other aminosalicylates act on the colon. Mesalamine controlled-release pills (Pentasa) act from the stomach to the rectum.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.