Lialda is a brand-name prescription medication that's used to treat ulcerative colitis in adults. Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It causes inflammation (swelling) and small sores called ulcers in the lining of your colon (large intestine) and rectum. Symptoms include abdominal (belly) pain and diarrhea that contains blood or mucus.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic (long-term) condition, and your symptoms may change over time. You may have periods when the disease is active and you have lots of symptoms. This is called a flare-up. You may also have periods when your symptoms get better. This is called being in remission.

Lialda is used in two ways to treat ulcerative colitis:

  • Induction of remission. This means causing remission. Lialda treats mild to moderate symptoms of ulcerative colitis until they get better or go away.
  • Maintenance of remission. This means keeping you in remission. Lialda helps you remain free from symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

Lialda contains the drug mesalamine. It belongs to a class of drugs called aminosalicylates. A class of drugs is a group of medications that act in a similar way. Aminosalicylates help reduce the inflammation in your bowel.

Lialda comes as delayed-release tablets that you take once a day. The tablets are available in one strength: 1.2 g.

Effectiveness

In two 8-week clinical studies, Lialda was found to be effective at inducing remission from ulcerative colitis. A 6-month study also found Lialda to be effective at maintaining remission from ulcerative colitis.

To learn more, see the "Lialda for ulcerative colitis" section.

Generic forms of Lialda are available. These come in the same strength as Lialda. Generic drugs are usually less expensive than the brand-name version.

Lialda contains the drug mesalamine. Other brand-name versions of mesalamine are also available. These include Asacol HD, Apriso, Delzicol, and Pentasa.

Lialda can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Lialda. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Lialda, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Association (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs they have approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you've had with Lialda, you can do so through MedWatch.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Lialda can include:

  • flatulence (passing gas)
  • abnormal results in liver function tests, which could be a sign of liver problems
  • worsening of ulcerative colitis symptoms, such as abdominal (belly) pain or diarrhea
  • headache (see "Side effect details" below)

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they're more severe or don't go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Lialda aren't common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you're having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Liver problems, including liver failure in people who already have liver problems. Symptoms can include:
    • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
    • pain in the right side of your upper abdomen

Other serious side effects are discussed in more detail below. They include:

  • mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome (see the "Diarrhea" section)
  • kidney problems, including kidney failure
  • severe allergic reaction

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug, or whether certain side effects pertain to it. Here's some detail on several of the side effects this drug may or may not cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Lialda. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Allergic reactions that affect the heart have also been reported with Lialda. These include myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of your heart).

Symptoms can include:

  • abnormal heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Lialda. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you're having a medical emergency.

Hair loss

Hair loss is possible while taking Lialda, but this was rare in clinical studies of the drug.

Hair loss was reported in 1.1% of people who took 4.8 g of Lialda per day to induce remission (treat active symptoms) of ulcerative colitis. Hair loss wasn't reported in people who took 2.4 g of Lialda per day to induce remission. It also wasn't reported in people who took a placebo (a treatment with no active drug).

Hair loss was reported in less than 1% of people who took Lialda to maintain remission of ulcerative colitis (stop symptoms from coming back). None of the people taking a placebo had any hair loss.

If you're concerned about hair loss, talk with your doctor. They may suggest tests to see why you're having hair loss. They may also recommend ways to help you manage this problem.

Headache

Lialda may cause headaches. This side effect was common in clinical studies of Lialda.

Headaches were reported in 5.6% of people who took 2.4 g of Lialda per day to induce remission of ulcerative colitis. They were reported in 3.4% of people who took 4.8 g of Lialda per day and in 0.6% of people who took a placebo.

Headaches were reported in 2.9% of people who took Lialda to maintain remission of ulcerative colitis.

If you get headaches while taking Lialda, ask your doctor or pharmacist about ways to manage them.

Skin rash

Some people may get a skin rash while taking Lialda. This may be caused by the medication, or it may be caused by ulcerative colitis itself. Skin issues (such as painful rashes) are common in people with ulcerative colitis, especially during flare-ups of the disease.

In clinical studies, skin rashes were reported in less than 1% of people who took 2.4 g or 4.8 g of Lialda to induce remission of ulcerative colitis. Rashes were reported in 1.2% of people who took Lialda to maintain remission of ulcerative colitis.

If you get a skin rash while taking Lialda, talk with your doctor about ways to manage it. They may prescribe medications to treat the rash.

Kidney problems

In rare cases, Lialda can cause or worsen kidney problems, such as kidney inflammation (swelling) or kidney failure. It's not known how often these problems occur.

Your doctor will check for any problems with your kidneys before you start taking Lialda. You'll also need to have blood or urine tests to monitor your kidney function from time to time during treatment.

See your doctor if you get symptoms of kidney problems while taking Lialda. These may include:

  • passing less urine than usual
  • swollen ankles, feet, or legs
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling unusually sleepy
  • nausea
  • confusion

Joint pain

Joint pain is possible while taking Lialda. This may be caused by the medication or by ulcerative colitis itself.

In clinical studies, joint pain was reported in less than 1% of people taking Lialda to induce remission (treat active symptoms) of ulcerative colitis. It was reported in 1.1% of people taking Lialda to maintain remission (stop symptoms from coming back).

If you have joint pain, talk with your doctor about ways to manage it.

Diarrhea

Some people may get diarrhea while taking Lialda. This may be caused by the medication, but it's also a common symptom of ulcerative colitis itself.

In clinical studies, diarrhea was reported in less than 1% of people taking Lialda to induce remission. It was reported in 1.7% of people taking Lialda to maintain remission.

If your diarrhea contains blood, it could be a sign of mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome. This is a serious side effect that can occur in some people. It's not known exactly how often it happens with Lialda. In clinical studies, this side effect occurred in 3% of people who took either mesalamine (the active drug in Lialda) or sulfasalazine (a drug that's changed into mesalamine in the body).

It can be hard to tell the symptoms of mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome apart from a flare-up of ulcerative colitis. Symptoms can include:

  • abdominal pain or cramping
  • bloody diarrhea
  • fever
  • headache
  • rash

Talk with your doctor if you get new or worsening diarrhea while taking Lialda, especially if the diarrhea contains blood.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can occur while taking Lialda. In clinical studies, pancreatitis occurred in less than 1% of people taking Lialda.

Symptoms of pancreatitis may include:

  • pain in the upper abdomen and back
  • nausea and vomiting
  • indigestion
  • bloating

Talk with your doctor if you get symptoms of pancreatitis while taking Lialda.

Weight gain (not a side effect)

Weight gain was not reported as a side effect in clinical studies of Lialda. However, you may find that you gain weight as your ulcerative colitis symptoms improve and your diet is less restricted.

Talk with your doctor if you're concerned about gaining weight while managing your ulcerative colitis.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Lialda comes as delayed-release tablets, which means they have a special coating that allows them to pass through the stomach before dissolving. The tablets are only available in one strength: 1.2 g.

Dosage for induction of ulcerative colitis remission

Induction of ulcerative colitis remission means treating your symptoms until they get better or go away.

The usual dosage for inducing remission is two to four Lialda tablets taken once a day with a meal.

It's best to take your dose at the same time each day. You should continue taking the prescribed dose each day for as long as your doctor recommends.

Dosage for maintenance of ulcerative colitis remission

Maintenance of ulcerative colitis remission is when you take Lialda on a long-term basis, even when you don't have symptoms. This keeps the disease under control and can help keep your symptoms from coming back.

The usual dose for maintenance of remission is two Lialda tablets taken once a day with a meal.

It's best to take your dose at the same time each day. You should continue taking the prescribed dose each day for as long as your doctor recommends.

What if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Lialda at your usual time, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it's almost time for your next dose, just skip the missed dose. Then, take your next dose at your usual time.

Never take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing this can increase your risk of certain side effects.

To help make sure you don't miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Lialda is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Lialda is safe and effective for you, you'll likely take it long term.

Other drugs are available that can treat ulcerative colitis. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you're interested in finding an alternative to Lialda, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that's approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for induction of ulcerative colitis remission

Inducing remission means treating active ulcerative colitis symptoms until they get better or go away.

Examples of other drugs that may be used to induce the remission of ulcerative colitis include:

  • other aminosalicylates taken by mouth, such as:
    • balsalazide (Colazal)
    • olsalazine (Dipentum)
    • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
    • other forms of mesalamine (Asacol HD, Delzicol, Pentasa)
  • aminosalicylates taken rectally, such as:
    • mesalamine (Rowasa, sfRowasa, Canasa)
  • corticosteroids taken by mouth, such as:
    • budesonide (Uceris)
    • hydrocortisone (Cortef)
    • methylprednisolone (Medrol)
    • prednisone (Rayos)
  • corticosteroids taken rectally, such as:
    • budesonide (Uceris rectal foam)
    • hydrocortisone (Colocort, Cortenema)
  • immunomodulators, such as:
    • azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan)
    • 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP)
  • biologic therapies, such as:
    • adalimumab (Humira)
    • infliximab (Inflectra, Remicade, Renflexis)
    • golimumab (Simponi)
    • vedolizumab (Entyvio)

Alternatives for maintenance of ulcerative colitis remission

Maintaining remission means keeping the inflammation in your bowel under control to help prevent your symptoms from coming back. Examples of other drugs that may be used to maintain remission of ulcerative colitis include:

  • other aminosalicylates taken by mouth, such as:
    • balsalazide (Colazal)
    • olsalazine (Dipentum)
    • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
    • other forms of mesalamine (Apriso, Delzicol)
  • aminosalicylates taken rectally, such as:
    • mesalamine (Rowasa, sfRowasa, Canasa)
  • immunomodulators, such as:
    • azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan)
    • 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP)
  • biologic therapies, such as:
    • adalimumab (Humira, Imraldi)
    • infliximab (Inflectra, Remicade, Renflexis)
    • golimumab (Simponi)
    • vedolizumab (Entyvio)

You may wonder how Lialda compares to other medications that are prescribed for ulcerative colitis. Here we look at how Lialda, Apriso, and Asacol HD are alike and different.

Ingredients

Lialda, Apriso, and Asacol HD all contain the active drug mesalamine.

Uses

Lialda, Apriso and Asacol HD are all used to treat ulcerative colitis in adults. However, these drugs contain different doses and are approved for use in slightly different ways:

  • Lialda is approved to:
    • induce remission (treat active symptoms) of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis
    • maintain remission (help prevent symptoms from coming back) of ulcerative colitis
  • Asacol HD is only approved to induce remission of moderately active ulcerative colitis.
  • Apriso is only approved to maintain remission of ulcerative colitis.

Since they all contain the same active drug, all three drugs can cause very similar side effects.

Drug forms and administration

The drug forms and how they're given differ slightly between the three drugs.

  • Lialda
    • Form: Tablet that's both delayed-release (passes through the stomach before dissolving) and extended-release (releases slowly into the body over time)
    • Daily doses:
      • To induce remission: Taken once daily
      • To maintain remission: Taken once daily
  • Apriso
    • Form: Capsule that's both delayed-release and extended-release
    • Daily doses:
      • To maintain remission: Taken once daily
  • Asacol HD
    • Form: Tablet that's delayed-release
    • Daily doses:
      • To induce remission: Taken three times daily

Effectiveness

In clinical studies, Lialda, Apriso, and Asacol HD have all been found to be effective for treating ulcerative colitis.

One review looked at how effective different forms of mesalamine are for inducing and maintaining ulcerative colitis remission. It found that the different forms of oral mesalamine seem to be similarly effective and safe when equal doses are compared.

Talk with your doctor if you would prefer to take one brand of mesalamine over another.

Costs

Lialda, Apriso, and Asacol HD are all brand-name drugs. Lialda and Asacol HD are also available in generic form. There is currently no generic form of Apriso. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Lialda may be the most expensive of the three brand-name drugs. Asacol HD generally costs less than Lialda but more than Apriso. The actual price you'll pay for any of these drugs depends on your dosage, insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Lialda and balsalazide are prescribed for similar uses. Below are details of how these medications are alike and different.

Ingredients

Lialda is a brand-name medication that contains the active drug mesalamine. Balsalazide is a generic drug that also comes as the brand-name medication Colazal.

Balsalazide is a prodrug of mesalamine. A prodrug is a medication that's changed into an active drug once it's inside your body. Balsalazide is changed into the active drug mesalamine by the bacteria found naturally in your colon.

Uses

Lialda and balsalazide are both used to treat ulcerative colitis. However, they're approved for use in slightly different ways.

Lialda is approved for use in adults to:

  • induce remission (treat active symptoms until they go away) of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis
  • maintain remission (help prevent symptoms from coming back) of ulcerative colitis

Balsalazide is approved to treat mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis symptoms in adults and in children ages 5 years and older. Balsalazide is not approved to maintain remission, but it has been studied (and may be used off-label) for this purpose.

Drug forms and administration

Lialda comes as delayed-release tablets. The dose to induce remission is two to four tablets taken once a day. To maintain remission, the dose is two tablets taken once a day. You should take Lialda with food.

Balsalazide comes as capsules. The dose to induce remission in adults is three capsules taken three times a day. For children, the dose is either one or three capsules taken three times a day. Balsalazide can be taken with or without food.

Side effects

Because their effects are produced by the same active drug, Lialda and balsalazide have very similar side effects. (See "Lialda side effects" above.)

Effectiveness

Lialda and balsalazide have both been found effective for treating ulcerative colitis.

One review of several studies looked at how effective different forms of mesalamine are for inducing and maintaining ulcerative colitis remission. It found that different forms of oral mesalamine, including Lialda and prodrugs such as balsalazide, seem to be similarly effective and safe.

Guidelines for treating ulcerative colitis have been published by the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA). Both recommend using a form of oral mesalamine (which includes Lialda and prodrugs such as balsalazide) to treat ulcerative colitis.

You and your doctor can decide if Lialda or balsalazide would be a better fit for you.

Costs

Lialda is a brand-name drug that's also available in generic form. Balsalazide is a generic drug that's also available under the brand-name Colazal. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, with similar use, Lialda is significantly more expensive than balsalazide. The actual price you'll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Lialda to treat certain conditions. Lialda may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that's approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Lialda has been approved by the FDA to treat ulcerative colitis in adults.

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease. With ulcerative colitis, you have inflammation (swelling) in the lining of your colon, rectum, or both. You may also develop small sores, called ulcers, in these linings. Ulcerative colitis can cause abdominal (belly) pain, frequent bowel movements, and diarrhea that may contain blood or mucus. You may also have other symptoms that don't directly involve your bowel. These include fatigue (lack of energy), loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss, fever, skin problems, and joint pain.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic (long-term) condition. You may have periods when your symptoms are particularly active. This is called a flare-up. You may also have times when you don't have any symptoms. This is called being in remission.

Lialda for induction of ulcerative colitis remission

Lialda is FDA-approved for inducing remission of active mild to moderate ulcerative colitis in adults. Inducing remission means treating your symptoms until they get better or go away.

Effectiveness

In two 8-week clinical studies, Lialda was found effective at inducing remission from ulcerative colitis symptoms. In both studies, people with mild to moderate symptoms of ulcerative colitis took either 2.4 g of Lialda per day, 4.8 g of Lialda per day, or a placebo (a treatment with no active drug).

At the end of the first 8-week study, remission from symptoms was achieved in:

  • 34.1% of people who took 2.4 g of Lialda per day
  • 29.2% of people who took 4.8 g of Lialda per day
  • 12.9% of people who took a placebo

At the end of the second 8-week study, remission from symptoms was achieved in:

  • 40.5% of people who took 2.4 g of Lialda per day
  • 41.2% of people who took 4.8 g of Lialda per day
  • 22.1% of people who took a placebo

In these studies, the people who had remission from their symptoms had less frequent bowel movements and less rectal bleeding. The lining of their colon was also assessed with a sigmoidoscopy. In this procedure, a camera and light on a thin, flexible tube is inserted into your colon through your rectum. The people in remission had less inflammation and fewer ulcers in the lining of their colon.

Lialda for maintenance of ulcerative colitis remission

Lialda is also FDA-approved for the maintenance of ulcerative colitis remission in adults. Maintenance of remission means taking Lialda on a long-term basis, even when you don't have symptoms. This keeps the disease under control and helps prevent your symptoms from coming back.

Effectiveness

One 6-month clinical study found Lialda to be effective at maintaining remission from ulcerative colitis. In this study, people who had minimal or no symptoms took either 2.4 g of Lialda per day or 1.6 g of mesalamine delayed-release. (Mesalamine is the active drug in Lialda.)

After 6 months, 83.7% of people taking 2.4 g of Lialda per day were still in remission. Of those taking 1.6 g of mesalamine delayed-release per day, 81.5% were still in remission after 6 months.

There are no known interactions between alcohol and Lialda. However, if you get headaches or feel nauseated while taking Lialda, drinking alcohol could make this worse.

Some people also find that drinking alcohol can cause a flare-up of ulcerative colitis. In some people, alcohol may also trigger symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, or bloating.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink.

There have been limited clinical studies of mesalamine (the active drug in Lialda) in pregnant women and in animals. These studies do not suggest that mesalamine causes birth defects, miscarriages, or other problems in pregnant women or their babies.

However, because the safety of Lialda in pregnancy is not known for certain, it should only be used if the benefits outweigh any possible risks.

There is some evidence that if ulcerative colitis is not treated during pregnancy, this can be associated with a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight in babies.

Current guidance from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) suggests that women should avoid getting pregnant until their disease has been in remission for at least 3 months. The AGA recommends that mesalamine (the active drug in Lialda) can be used during pregnancy to help maintain remission. Current evidence suggests that the benefits of taking mesalamine to help keep ulcerative colitis in remission outweigh the possible risks.

If you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of taking Lialda during pregnancy.

It's not known if Lialda is safe to take during pregnancy. If you or your sexual partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you're using Lialda.

It's not yet known if it's safe to take Lialda while breastfeeding. Mesalamine, the active drug in Lialda, can pass into breast milk in small amounts. Diarrhea has been reported in some breastfed children whose mothers were taking mesalamine.

Talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your child while you're taking Lialda. If you decide to breastfeed while taking Lialda, tell your doctor if your child gets diarrhea.

Lialda is approved to treat ulcerative colitis in adults.

What happens in ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. With ulcerative colitis, the linings of your colon (large intestine) and rectum become inflamed (swollen and irritated). The inflammation can cause small sores, called ulcers, to develop in these linings. The inflammation causes symptoms such as frequent bowel movements or diarrhea, which can contain mucus. The ulcers can bleed, causing bloody stools. Other symptoms, such as fatigue, anemia, nausea, and weight loss, are also possible.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic (long-term) condition. You may have periods where your symptoms are bad (called flare-ups) and periods when your symptoms get better or go away (called remission).

What Lialda does

The active drug in Lialda is called mesalamine, also known as 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA). It belongs to a class of medications called aminosalicylates. A class of medications is a group of drugs that work in a similar way.

Aminosalicylates such as Lialda work by reducing and preventing inflammation (swelling) and lesions in the linings of your colon and rectum. Lialda tablets are designed to deliver the medication directly to these areas of your bowel. The medication stops the cells in the linings of the colon and rectum from producing certain substances that cause inflammation. However, the way it works is not fully understood.

Once your bowel lining starts to heal and become less inflamed, your ulcerative colitis symptoms should start to clear up.

How long does it take to work?

Lialda will start to reduce the inflammation in your bowel as soon as you start taking it. However, it may take a few weeks before your symptoms improve.

Lialda can interact with other medications. Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Lialda and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Lialda. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Lialda.

Before taking Lialda, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Lialda and NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a group of pain relievers that reduce inflammation (swelling). NSAIDs and Lialda can both cause kidney problems. Taking an NSAID with Lialda may increase your risk of having kidney problems.

Examples of NSAIDs that may increase the risk of kidney problems if taken with Lialda include:

  • ibuprofen (Ibu-Tab, Motrin, Advil)
  • naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve, Anaprox DS)
  • diclofenac (Zorvolex, Zipsor)
  • celecoxib (Celebrex)

If you're taking an NSAID, talk with your doctor before you start taking Lialda. They may recommend using a different medication to treat your pain.

Lialda and azathioprine

Azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) is a medication that's sometimes used to treat ulcerative colitis. Azathioprine can cause problems with your blood cells, such as lowered blood cell counts. In rare cases, Lialda may also affect your blood cells. Taking these two medications together may raise your risk of having problems with your blood cells.

Talk with your doctor if you plan to take Lialda with azathioprine. You may need to have extra blood tests done to monitor your blood cells.

Lialda and 6-mercaptopurine

6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) is a medication that's sometimes used to treat ulcerative colitis. It can cause problems with your blood cells, such as lowered blood cell counts. In rare cases, Lialda may also affect your blood cells. If you take these medications together, you may be more at risk of having blood cell problems.

Talk with your doctor if you plan to take Lialda with 6-mercaptopurine. You may need to have extra blood tests done to monitor your blood cells.

Lialda and herbs and supplements

There aren't any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Lialda. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Lialda.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Lialda.

Can I take Lialda with prednisone?

Yes, in some cases you can take these drugs together for a short time.

Most people don't need to use corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, while taking Lialda. However, sometimes your ulcerative colitis symptoms may not improve with Lialda alone. In this case, your doctor may prescribe a rectal form of mesalamine (a suppository or enema) to use as well. If this combined treatment doesn't work, your doctor might also prescribe an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone or budesonide.

Prednisone can help relieve your ulcerative colitis symptoms. However, corticosteroids such as prednisone shouldn't be used as a long-term treatment to prevent flare-ups. If you do take prednisone with Lialda, it should only be for a short period of time.

Your doctor can determine how long it's safe for you to take these drugs together.

Is Lialda a biologic?

No, Lialda is not a biologic. Biologic medications are made using living organisms. They're designed to act on specific substances in your immune system. Biologics for ulcerative colitis target the substances that are causing the inflammation (swelling) in your bowel. They tend to be used for more severe forms of ulcerative colitis, when other drugs haven't worked.

Lialda is a type of medication called an aminosalicylate. It also reduces bowel inflammation, but it does this in a less targeted way than biologics.

Do I need to worry about sun exposure if I'm taking Lialda?

Yes. Lialda may make your skin burn more easily in the sun. This is because it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. This side effect wasn't reported in clinical studies of Lialda. However, it has been reported since the drug has been on the market.

It's not known how often this side effect occurs. You're more likely to have this problem if you already have any skin issues, such as eczema or dermatitis.

Skin issues are common in people with ulcerative colitis. If you have a skin problem, you should avoid exposing your skin to excessive sunlight. Protect your skin with clothing or sunscreen, and try to stay out of strong sunlight. If you don't have any skin issues, you should still follow these tips until you know whether Lialda affects your skin.

Is Lialda a blood thinner?

No, Lialda is not a blood thinner. Lialda is an aminosalicylate medication that's used to reduce inflammation (swelling) in your colon and rectum. Lialda contains the active drug mesalamine. This is structurally related to aspirin, which is a blood thinner. However, Lialda works differently in your body than aspirin.

Very rarely, Lialda may cause a drop in the number of platelets (a type of cell) in your blood. This could make you bruise or bleed more easily, because platelets usually help your blood to clot. However, Lialda is not used as a blood thinner.

Can Lialda be used for IBS?

No, Lialda is not approved to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is a chronic (long-term) disorder of the stomach and intestines.

Some people with IBS may have some low-grade inflammation in their bowel. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as mesalamine (the active drug in Lialda) are being investigated as possible treatments for this type of IBS. However, more studies are needed before it's known if mesalamine is effective for IBS.

If you have IBS, talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

Can Lialda cause constipation?

It's not likely. Constipation was not reported in clinical studies of Lialda. However, constipation has been reported with some other medications that contain mesalamine (the active drug in Lialda). These include Delzicol and Pentasa.

Talk with your doctor if you're concerned about constipation as a side effect of your medications.

As with all medications, the cost of Lialda can vary. To find current prices for Lialda in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you'll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Your insurance plan may require you to get prior authorization before approving coverage for Lialda. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the request and let you and your doctor know if your plan will cover Lialda.

If you're not sure if you'll need to get prior authorization for Lialda, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Lialda, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Ltd., the manufacturer of Lialda, offers a program called Help at Hand. For more information and to find out if you're eligible for support, call 800-830-9159 or visit the program website.

You should take Lialda according to your doctor's or healthcare provider's instructions.

When to take

You should take your prescribed dose of Lialda once a day with food. You can take your dose at any time of day, but try to take it at the same time each day.

To help make sure you don't miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Keep taking the Lialda dose you've been prescribed every day, even when you don't have symptoms.

Taking Lialda with food

You should take Lialda with a meal or snack.

Can Lialda be crushed, split, or chewed?

No, you should swallow Lialda tablets whole with a drink. Do not crush, split, chew, or try to dissolve the tablets.

Lialda is a delayed-release tablet. It has a special coating that allows it to pass through your stomach and upper intestine without being digested. The tablet releases the drug in your lower intestine so it can act directly where it's needed. If you damage the tablet by crushing, splitting, dissolving, or chewing it, you'll stop the delayed-release design from working properly.

Before taking Lialda, talk with your doctor about your health history. Lialda may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • An allergy to salicylate medications. These include aspirin, mesalamine, sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), olsalazine (Dipentum), and balsalazide (Colazal). Lialda is also a salicylate. If you've ever had an allergic reaction to a salicylate medication, you should not take Lialda. You could have an allergic reaction to it.
  • Kidney problems. Lialda can cause kidney problems and could worsen any kidney problems you already have. Your doctor will want to monitor your kidney function while you take Lialda. If your kidney problems get worse, you may need to stop taking Lialda.
  • Liver problems. Lialda can cause liver problems and could worsen any liver problems you already have. Your doctor will want to monitor your liver function while you take Lialda. If your liver problems get worse, you may need to stop treatment with Lialda.
  • Heart problems. In rare cases, Lialda can cause myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart). Before using Lialda, talk with your doctor about any heart problems you've had to make sure this drug is safe for you.
  • Narrowing or blockage in your stomach or upper intestine. Lialda tablets release the drug in your lower intestine. If you have a blockage or narrowing in your stomach or upper intestine, this will make it harder for Lialda tablets to pass through. This means the tablets will take longer to start working in your bowel. Talk with your doctor about whether Lialda is the best option for you.
  • Skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. Lialda may make your skin more sensitive to the sun or UV light. If you already have a skin condition such as eczema, your skin may react more severely. Talk with your doctor about how to protect your skin while taking Lialda.
  • Being 65 years of age or older
  • Pregnancy. The safety of Lialda during pregnancy is not known for certain. For more information, see the "Lialda and pregnancy" section above.
  • Breastfeeding. Lialda may pass into breast milk in small amounts. For more information, see the "Lialda and breastfeeding" section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Lialda, see the "Lialda side effects" section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Lialda can lead to serious side effects.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • ringing or other noise in the ears
  • spinning sensation
  • headache
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • sweating
  • seizures
  • fast breathing
  • trouble breathing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you've taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Lialda from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee the medication will be effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Lialda tablets should be stored at room temperature (no higher than 86°F/30°C) in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Lialda and have leftover medication, it's important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

The FDA website provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Lialda is approved for use in adults to:

  • induce remission of mild to moderate active ulcerative colitis
  • maintain remission of ulcerative colitis

Mechanism of action

Lialda contains mesalamine, also known as 5-aminosalicylic acid or 5-ASA. This drug has an anti-inflammatory effect in the colon and rectum. It's thought that it works by blocking cyclo-oxygenase in the epithelial cells lining the colon, thereby reducing the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. However, the exact mechanism of action of mesalamine is not fully understood.

Lialda delayed-release tablets release the drug in the terminal ileum, allowing it to act locally on the mucosa of the colon and rectum. The drug is systemically absorbed, but this is not thought to contribute to its anti-inflammatory effect.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Approximately 21% to 22% of the Lialda dose is absorbed systemically after oral administration.

Mesalamine is mainly metabolized by acetylation in the liver and intestinal mucosal cells. The major metabolite is cleared renally. A small amount of mesalamine is excreted unchanged in the urine.

The terminal half-life is on average 7 to 9 hours for mesalamine and 8 to 12 hours for its major metabolite.

Contraindications

Lialda is contraindicated in patients with an allergy to aminosalicylates or salicylates, including aspirin.

Storage

Lialda tablets should be stored at room temperature, not exceeding 86°F (30°C).

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.