If you have ulcerative colitis (UC), your doctor might suggest Lialda (mesalamine) as a treatment option for you.

Lialda is a prescription medication that’s used to treat UC in adults and some children.

UC is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It causes swelling of the large intestine, which includes your rectum and colon. The condition causes symptoms such as diarrhea and belly pain.

Lialda comes as a tablet that you swallow. It’s typically used as a long-term treatment. For more information about Lialda, see this in-depth article on the drug.

Like other drugs, Lialda can cause mild or serious side effects. Keep reading to learn more.

Some people may experience mild or serious side effects during their Lialda treatment.

Examples of Lialda’s commonly reported side effects may include:

Keep reading to learn about other mild and serious side effects that may happen with Lialda.

Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Lialda include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be easily managed, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And don’t stop taking Lialda unless your doctor recommends it.

Lialda may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Lialda prescribing information for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Lialda, visit MedWatch.

Serious side effects of Lialda are rare, but they can still happen.

Serious side effects that have been reported with Lialda include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
† An allergic reaction is possible after taking Lialda. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Lialda, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening, or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Lialda is used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis in some children.

Most side effects of Lialda are typically the same in children as they are in adults. But some of Lialda’s side effects may be more common in children. These include:

Talk with your child’s doctor to learn more about their risk of side effects from Lialda.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Lialda’s side effects.

Does Lialda cause weight gain?

No, Lialda isn’t known to cause weight gain. This side effect wasn’t reported in studies of the drug.

However, weight gain and weight loss are possible symptoms of ulcerative colitis (UC), which Lialda is used to treat. So you may have weight changes while using Lialda because of your health condition. But weight gain may not be caused by the drug itself.

If you’re concerned about weight gain while taking Lialda, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to maintain a healthy weight while taking the drug.

Will I experience side effects if I stop taking Lialda?

There aren’t any side effects that are known to happen after stopping Lialda treatment.

Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can happen when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on. But these side effects weren’t reported in studies of Lialda.

Symptoms of UC might come back after you stop taking Lialda. So it may be best to keep taking the drug until your doctor tells you it’s safe to stop taking it.

If you have questions about what to expect when you stop taking Lialda, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does my age affect my risk of side effects from Lialda?

Yes, your age can affect your risk of certain side effects from Lialda.

For example, some of Lialda’s side effects may be more common in children than in adults. For details, see the “Side effects in children” section above.

Older people may be more susceptible to other side effects of Lialda. These include conditions that affect the levels of certain white blood cells and red blood cells.

If you’re concerned about your risk of side effects from Lialda because of your age, talk with your doctor. They can advise you about the risks and benefits of taking this drug. And they can recommend if Lialda is right for you.

Learn more about some of the side effects that Lialda may cause.

Hair loss

Hair loss is a rare side effect of Lialda.

Keep in mind that ulcerative colitis (UC), which Lialda is used to treat, can cause hair loss. So it’s possible that you may have hair loss while taking Lialda. But your hair loss may not be caused by Lialda itself.

What might help

If you have hair loss while taking Lialda, talk with your doctor. They can help you understand if Lialda is the cause of your hair loss, or if a different factor may be causing it.

For example, hair loss with UC may be related to your stress level or nutrition. If so, your doctor may suggest ways to lower your stress or improve your nutrition.

Your doctor can also suggest other ways to manage hair loss while you’re taking Lialda.

Joint pain

Joint pain is a possible side effect of Lialda, although it’s less common.

And joint pain can also be a symptom of UC. If you have joint pain while taking Lialda, it’s possible that this side effect may not be caused by the drug. It could be a symptom of the condition you’re taking Lialda to treat.

What might help

If you have joint pain while taking Lialda, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can describe which medications are best to take for helping to ease your joint pain. For example, your doctor may prescribe a UC medication other than Lialda that can help ease this pain.

In most cases, you should avoid taking certain over-the-counter pain relievers to ease your joint pain. This is because nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil (ibuprofen), can raise your risk of kidney problems with Lialda.

Your doctor or pharmacist may also have other recommendations for lessening this side effect.

Mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome

Mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome is a possible serious side effect of Lialda. This side effect occurred in studies of other products containing mesalamine, which is the active drug in Lialda. But it isn’t known for sure if this side effect is common or rare with Lialda.

Mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome mimics the symptoms of UC. So it may be hard for you to tell if you’re experiencing this side effect or symptoms of UC.

Possible symptoms of this condition include:

What might help

Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the symptoms listed above while taking Lialda. They’ll help you determine if you’re having side effects from Lialda or a flare-up of UC.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Lialda can cause an allergic reaction in some people. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
  • heart problems, such as myocarditis (swelling of your heart muscle) and pericarditis (swelling of the thin layer of tissue around your heart)

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. To manage your symptoms, they may suggest an over-the-counter antihistamine that you take by mouth, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Or they may recommend a product that you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream.

If your doctor confirms that you had a mild allergic reaction to Lialda, they’ll decide if you should continue taking it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling, trouble breathing, or chest pain, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms that you had a serious allergic reaction to Lialda, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Lialda treatment, consider keeping notes about any side effects you’re having. Then, you can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dose you experienced it
  • the symptoms of the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • any other medications you were taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help them learn more about how Lialda affects you. And your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Lialda may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Lialda. The list below includes factors to consider.

Blockage in your upper intestine or stomach. Lialda tablets are designed to release the drug in your colon. If you have a blockage in your upper intestine or stomach, Lialda tablets may not pass through these areas easily. This could delay the release of Lialda in your colon, which could make the drug less effective for your condition. Before taking Lialda, tell your doctor if you have a blockage in your upper intestine or stomach. They may prescribe a drug other than Lialda for you.

Kidney problems. Lialda may cause kidney problems, such as kidney stones or kidney failure. Before taking Lialda, tell your doctor if you already have kidney problems. They can advise if it’s safe for you to take Lialda, or they may recommend a different treatment option for you instead.

Liver problems. If you have liver problems, you may have a high risk of liver failure as a side effect of Lialda. Before taking Lialda, tell your doctor about any liver problems you may have. They can talk with you about the risks and benefits of taking Lialda.

Skin problems. Before taking Lialda, tell your doctor if you have skin problems such as dermatitis or eczema. If so, Lialda could make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Be sure to talk with your doctor about ways to protect your skin while you’re taking Lialda.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Lialda or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Lialda. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Alcohol use and Lialda

There aren’t any known interactions between alcohol and Lialda.

But alcohol may worsen symptoms of ulcerative colitis (UC), which Lialda is used to treat. So in general, it’s recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol if you have this condition. And because Lialda is used to treat UC, it may be best to avoid alcohol while taking the drug.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to drink during your Lialda treatment.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Lialda

It isn’t known for sure if Lialda is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, talk with your doctor before starting treatment with Lialda.

Lialda is used to treat ulcerative colitis (UC).

Most of Lialda’s side effects are mild, but in rare cases, you may have serious side effects from the drug.

If you have questions about side effects from Lialda, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Here are a few questions you may want to ask:

  • Can you suggest ways to manage the side effects I may have from Lialda?
  • Will other drugs I’m taking increase my risk of side effects from Lialda?
  • Am I at a higher risk of liver or kidney problems from Lialda?

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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 another 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.