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Lialda® is a brand name used in the United States for mesalamine, an anti-inflammatory drug manufactured for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. It is also known as Asacol® and Pentasa® in the U.S. and in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Additionally, the drug is referred to as Mesacol in some Asian countries, such as India and Bangladesh. Judging the safety and effectiveness it established in two eight-week clinical trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lialda® in 1987.
Composed as a 5-aminosalicylic acid, Lialda® is manufactured as a red-and-brown tablet weighing 1.2 grams. Doctors usually recommend that patients take from two to four tablets with food for up to eight weeks. In cases when there is difficulty swallowing Lialda®, the patient can mix its contents by opening it, sprinkling the beads it contains in a glass of water, mixing it, and drinking the mixture immediately. Patients should not store such mixtures for later use.
Lialda® primarily works by destroying the substances that cause inflammation, thus reducing them. One of the diseases it treats, ulcerative colitis, concerns the swelling or wearing away of the inside lining of the colon, also referred to as the large intestine. The other major inflammatory disease Lialda® is designed to battle, Crohn's disease, is more extensive. Also known as regional enteritis, this particular ailment not only affects the colon, but other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, as well. This includes the mouth, small intestine, esophagus, stomach and rectum.
Other inflammatory ailments can be treated with the use of Lialda®. Proctosigmoiditis, like ulcerative colitis, is a type of inflammatory disease affecting the colon, but it specifically involves the lower part of the organ — from the rectum up the left side of the patient. Another medical condition, proctitis, concerns inflammation of the anus and the lining of the rectum's lower 6 inches (15.24 cm). Lialda® can also be used to treat tissue damage and diarrhea.
Patients taking Lialda® should begin to feel better as early as within the first few days of taking the medication. Signs of such a recovery include a halt to rectal bleeding, less frequent bowel movements and improvement to the lining of the colon. Regardless of the outcome of using Lialda®, doctors usually recommend that patients finish their prescription.
There are some side effects to watch out for when taking Lialda®. They include abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, cramping, fever, headache or itching. Additionally, people who wish to take the drug should notify their doctors of any other medications they are currently taking, medical conditions such as liver or kidney disease, or if they are pregnant or plan to get pregnant.