Mesalamine (Page 2 of 5)

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of mesalamine or other mesalamine-containing products. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

  • Body as a Whole: drug fever, fatigue, lupus-like syndrome, medication residue
  • Cardiac Disorders: myocarditis, pericarditis, pericardial effusion [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3)]
  • Endocrine: Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus
  • Eye disorders: eye swelling
  • Gastrointestinal D isorders: abdominal cramps, abdominal distension, anal pruritus, anorectal discomfort, constipation, feces discolored, flatulence, frequent bowel movements, gastrointestinal bleeding, mucus stools, nausea, painful defecation, pancreatitis, proctalgia, rectal discharge, rectal tenesmus, stomach discomfort, vomiting
  • Hepatic D isorders : cholestatic jaundice, hepatitis, jaundice, Kawasaki-like syndrome including changes in liver enzymes, liver necrosis, liver failure
  • Hematologic D isorders : agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia, thrombocytopenia
  • Neurologi ca l/Psychiatric D isorders : Guillain-Barre syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, transverse myelitis, intracranial hypertension
  • Renal Disorders: interstitial nephritis, renal failure, minimal change disease, nephrolithiasis [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1, 5.6)]
  • Respiratory, Thoracic and Mediastinal Disorders: hypersensitivity pneumonitis (including allergic alveolitis, eosinophilic pneumonitis, interstitial pneumonitis)
  • Skin and S ubcutaneous T issue D isorder: alopecia, erythema, erythema nodosum, pruritus, psoriasis, pyoderma gangrenosum, urticaria
  • Urogenital: reversible oligospermia


7.1 Nephrotoxic Agents, Including Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

The concurrent use of mesalamine with known nephrotoxic agents, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk of nephrotoxicity. Monitor patients taking nephrotoxic drugs for changes in renal function and mesalamine-related adverse reactions [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1)].

7.2 Azathioprine or 6- M ercaptopurine

The concurrent use of mesalamine with azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine and/or other drugs known to cause myelotoxicity may increase the risk for blood disorders, bone marrow failure, and associated complications. If concomitant use of mesalamine and azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine cannot be avoided, monitor blood tests, including complete blood cell counts and platelet counts.

7.3 Interference With Urinary Normetanephrine Measurements

Use of mesalamine may lead to spuriously elevated test results when measuring urinary normetanephrine by liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection, because of the similarity in the chromatograms of normetanephrine and mesalamine’s main metabolite, N-acetylaminosalicylic acid. Consider an alternative, selective assay for normetanephrine [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.7)].


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

Limited published data on mesalamine use in pregnant women are insufficient to inform a drug-associated risk. No evidence of teratogenicity was observed in rats or rabbits when treated during gestation with orally administered mesalamine at doses greater than the recommended human intra-rectal dose ( see Data ).

The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated populations is unknown. Adverse outcomes in pregnancy occur regardless of the health of the mother or the use of medications. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively.


Animal Data

Reproduction studies have been performed in rats at oral doses up to 320 mg/kg/day (about 1.7 times the recommended human intra-rectal dose of mesalamine, based on body surface area) and in rabbits at oral doses up to 495 mg/kg/day (about 5.4 times the recommended human intra-rectal dose of mesalamine, based on body surface area) following administration during the period of organogenesis, and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to mesalamine.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Mesalamine and its N-acetyl metabolite are present in human milk in undetectable to small amounts ( see Data ). There are limited reports of diarrhea in breastfed infants. There is no information on the effects of the drug on milk production. The lack of clinical data during lactation precludes a clear determination of the risk of mesalamine to an infant during lactation; therefore, the developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for mesalamine and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from mesalamine or from the underlying maternal conditions.

Clinical Considerations

Monitor breastfed infants for diarrhea.


In published lactation studies, maternal mesalamine doses from various oral and rectal formulations and products ranged from 500 mg to 3 g daily. The concentration of mesalamine in milk ranged from non-detectable to 0.11 mg/L. The concentration of the N-acetyl-5-aminosalicylic acid metabolite ranged from 5 to 18.1 mg/L. Based on these concentrations, estimated infant daily dosages for an exclusively breastfed infant are 0 to 0.017 mg/kg/day of mesalamine and 0.75 to 2.72 mg/kg/day of N-acetyl-5-aminosalicylic acid.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of mesalamine in pediatric patients for the treatment of mildly to moderately active ulcerative proctitis have not been established. Mesalamine was evaluated for the treatment of ulcerative proctitis in a 6-week, open-label, single-arm study in 49 patients 5 to 17 years of age, which only included 14 patients with histologically-confirmed cases of ulcerative proctitis. However, efficacy was not demonstrated. Adverse reactions seen in pediatric patients in this trial (abdominal pain, headache, pyrexia, pharyngolaryngeal pain, diarrhea and vomiting) were similar to those seen in adult patients.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical trials of mesalamine did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 years and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients.Reports from uncontrolled clinical studies and postmarketing reporting systems suggested a higher incidence of blood dyscrasias (i.e., agranulocytosis, neutropenia and pancytopenia) in patients receiving mesalamine-containing products such as mesalamine who were 65 years or older compared to younger patients. Monitor complete blood cell counts and platelet counts in elderly patients during treatment with mesalamine. In general, consider the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concurrent disease or other drug therapy in elderly patients when prescribing mesalamine [see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.6)].

8.6 Renal Impairment

Mesalamine is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Evaluate renal function in all patients prior to initiation and periodically while on mesalamine therapy. Monitor patients with known renal impairment or history of renal disease or taking nephrotoxic drugs for decreased renal function and mesalamine-related adverse reactions [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1), Drug Interactions ( 7.1) and Adverse Reactions ( 6.2)].

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