Olsalazine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

olsalazine, Oral capsule

All Brands

  • Dipentum
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Highlights for olsalazine

Oral capsule
1

Olsalazine is used to treat ulcerative colitis. It helps maintain remission of this condition. Remission is a period of time when symptoms are reduced.

2

Olsalazine is used for people who can’t tolerate the drug sulfasalazine.

3

This medication is available as the brand-name drug Dipentum. It’s not available as a generic drug.

4

Olsalazine comes in the form of a capsule you take by mouth. The capsule may be opened and sprinkled on food.

5

Side effects of olsalazine can be similar to the symptoms it’s meant to treat. For instance, diarrhea is a common side effect. If your symptoms of ulcerative colitis get worse while you take this drug, call your doctor.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Worsening diarrhea

If you have diarrhea from your ulcerative colitis, this drug can make it worse. Call your doctor if your diarrhea gets worse.

Drug features

Olsalazine is a prescription drug. It comes in the form of a capsule you take by mouth.

Olsalazine is available as the brand-name drug Dipentum. It’s not available as a generic drug.

Why it's used

Olsalazine is used to treat ulcerative colitis. This is a chronic disease that causes swelling and ulcers (sores) in the colon (large intestine). Olsalazine is used for people who can’t tolerate the drug sulfasalazine.

Olsalazine helps reduce inflammation of the bowels, bleeding of the rectum, and pain in the abdomen (stomach area). In some cases, it also helps decrease the number of daily bowel movements.

How it works

Olsalazine belongs to a class of drugs called salicylate salts. These are anti-inflammatory agents. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Olsalazine appears to work directly on the lining of the colon. It seems to block the enzyme cyclooxygenase. It also seems to keep the colon from producing a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin. Both of these actions work to reduce inflammation in the colon. 

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olsalazine Side Effects

Oral capsule

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects of olsalazine can include:

  • diarrhea

  • pain in the abdomen (stomach area)

  • nausea

  • bloating

  • headache

  • rash or itching

  • joint pain

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 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:

  • Chest pain

  • Severe diarrhea

  • Blood disorders. Symptoms can include:

    • fever
    • tiredness
    • sore throat
    • unusual bruising or bleeding (such as from your gums or nose)
  • Liver damage. Symptoms can include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • tiredness
    • pain in the abdomen (stomach area)
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug may make you more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing if you are in sunlight while taking this drug.

This drug doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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olsalazine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Olsalazine can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Blood thinners

When taken with olsalazine, certain blood thinners can increase your risk of bleeding. Examples of these drugs include:

  • warfarin
  • heparin
  • low-molecular-weight heparin

Vaccines

The varicella vaccine is used to prevent chicken pox. When taken with olsalazine, it raises your risk of Reye’s syndrome. This is a rare but serious condition that causes swelling in the brain and liver.

To decrease the risk of Reye’s syndrome, don’t take olsalazine for at least 6 weeks after receiving the varicella vaccine.

Other drugs

When used with olsalazine, certain drugs that may be used to treat leukemia or psoriasis can cause bone marrow suppression. This is when the marrow inside the bones is less able to make blood cells. Examples of these drugs include:

  • thioguanine
  • 6-mercaptopurine

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with allergies or asthma

This drug can worsen severe allergies or asthma. If you have these conditions, your doctor will monitor them during your treatment with this drug.

People with kidney disease

In rare cases, this drug can worsen kidney damage in people with kidney disease. If you have kidney disease and are taking this drug, your doctor will monitor your kidney function.

Pregnant women

This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

This drug may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

For children

This drug isn’t approved for use in children younger than 18 years.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if:

  • your diarrhea worsens after taking this drug.
  • you become pregnant while taking this drug.

Allergies

This drug can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • severe skin rash 

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Be sure to tell your doctor if you’re allergic to this drug or aspirin, or any other medication.

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How to Take olsalazine (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Ulcerative colitis

Brand: Dipentum

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 250 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The usual dosage is 2 capsules (250 mg each) twice per day (for a total of 1 g per day).

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Olsalazine isn’t approved for use in children.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your symptoms of ulcerative colitis may not improve, or they may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • severe diarrhea
  • fever
  • tiredness
  • sore throat
  • unusual bruising or bleeding (such as from your gums or nose)
  • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • tiredness
  • pain in the abdomen (stomach area)
  • painful urination
  • blood in urine
  • more frequent urination

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

One or more of your ulcerative colitis symptoms should improve. For instance, you could have less abdominal pain, or fewer bowel movements.

This drug is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug

Take this drug with food. This may help to reduce upset stomach

You can open the capsule and sprinkle the contents on applesauce or other soft food.

  • The entire drug/applesauce mixture must be swallowed right away. (The contents can be chewed if needed.)
  • Don’t store the drug/food mixture for later use.

Store this drug carefully

  • Keep this drug at room temperature, between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Sun sensitivity

This drug can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This increases your risk of sunburn. Avoid the sun if you can. If you can’t, be sure to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does olsalazine Cost?

Oral capsule

We've partnered with GoodRx so you can compare prices, find discounts and save up to 80% on your next prescription. Check out the low coupon prices below — no insurance required.

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Lowest price for olsalazine

Kroger Pharmacy $1,424.96
Target (CVS) $1,431.63
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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for olsalazine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for olsalazine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on October 8, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline 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.
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