Uceris (budesonide) is a prescription drug that’s used to manage ulcerative colitis. Uceris is available as an oral tablet and as a rectal foam.
Uceris is prescribed for adults to lower inflammation and relieve symptoms caused by active ulcerative colitis. The goal is to induce (cause) remission. With remission, you have no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
To learn more about Uceris’s uses, see the “What is Uceris used for?” section below.
Uceris contains the active ingredient budesonide. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) It belongs to a group of drugs called corticosteroids.
Like most drugs, Uceris may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Uceris may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.
Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:
- your age
- other health conditions you have
- other medications you take
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Uceris. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a list of some of the mild side effects that Uceris can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read the Uceris’s prescribing information for the rectal foam or extended-release oral tablet.
Mild side effects of Uceris that have been reported include:
- abdominal pain or bloating
- fatigue (low energy)
- flatulence (gas)
- joint pain
- urinary tract infection
- temporary drop in the level of cortisol in the blood
- mild allergic reaction*
Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Uceris can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Uceris, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects of Uceris that have been reported include:
- adrenal insufficiency
- increased risk of infection
- high blood cortisol level
- mood changes, including depression
- severe allergic reaction*
* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to Uceris.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Uceris. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Uceris that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
Forms and strengths
Uceris comes as an extended-release (ER) tablet in a strength of 9 milligrams (mg). With ER tablets, the drug is slowly released into your body over a long period of time.
Uceris is also available as a rectal foam. It comes in a canister that delivers 2 mg of Uceris per dose.
The recommended dosages of Uceris depend on the form you’re prescribed.
If you’re prescribed ER tablets, you’ll take one tablet each morning. You’ll take this for up to 8 weeks.
If you’re prescribed the rectal foam, you’ll administer one dose twice per day for 2 weeks. Then you’ll switch to one dose per day for 4 weeks.
Your doctor will explain how you should take or administer Uceris. They’ll also explain the amount and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Taking the extended-release tablets
Uceris ER tablets should be swallowed whole with water. Do not crush, chew, or split Uceris tablets. If you have trouble swallowing pills, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.
You should take Uceris in the morning. This helps keep a consistent level of the drug in your body, which helps Uceris work effectively. You can take Uceris with or without food.
Administering the rectal foam
Uceris rectal foam comes in a canister with single-use applicators. The applicator comes with a lubricant coating, but you can also use petroleum jelly (Vaseline) for extra lubrication if you like.
Prior to administering the dose, you’ll attach a new applicator to the canister. Then, the applicator tip is gently inserted into the rectum. To deliver a dose, you press down on the canister pump.
Questions about taking or administering Uceris
Below are some common questions about taking or administering Uceris.
- What if I miss a dose of Uceris? If you miss a dose of Uceris, take or administer it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and take or administer the next dose at its usual time. You should not have two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing so could raise your risk of side effects.
- Will I need to use Uceris long term? No. Uceris is typically used short term. Uceris ER tablets are approved for 8 weeks of treatment, while the rectal foam is approved for up to 6 weeks of use.
- How long does Uceris take to work? After starting treatment with Uceris, it can take 6–8 weeks for ulcerative colitis symptoms to ease or go away.
Do not take more Uceris than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to harmful effects.
Symptoms of overdose
Uceris is a corticosteroid. Reports of acute (sudden) overdoses are rare with corticosteroids. But taking high doses of corticosteroids over time can lead to symptoms such as:
- weight gain
- moon face (swollen, round face)
- muscle weakness
- nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- low blood pressure
- feeling irritable or depressed
What to do in case you take too much Uceris
Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Uceris. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.
Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Uceris.
How does Uceris compare with Entocort?
Uceris and Entocort both contain the active ingredient budesonide. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work). However, Uceris and Entocort have differences.
For example, Uceris and Entocort are used to treat different conditions. Uceris is prescribed to manage ulcerative colitis. And Entocort is used to manage Crohn’s disease. Uceris is only prescribed for adults, but Entocort can be prescribed for adults and some children.
Uceris comes as an oral tablet and as a rectal foam. Entocort is available as an oral capsule.
If you have other questions about how Uceris and Entocort compare, talk with your doctor.
Does Uceris cause weight gain or moon face?
Weight gain hasn’t been reported as a side effect for either form of Uceris.
Uceris is typically prescribed as a short-term treatment (6–8 weeks). Weight gain and moon face tend to occur when corticosteroids are taken over a longer period of time. If you’re concerned about possible side effects of Uceris, talk with your doctor.
Is it safe to use or take Uceris with prednisone?
It may be safe if your doctor prescribes these drugs together to you.
Uceris and prednisone are both corticosteroid drugs. Either drug may be used to induce remission (decrease inflammation and relieve symptoms) in people with ulcerative colitis.
Doctors typically don’t prescribe more than one corticosteroid at a time for inducing remission, especially for long-term use. Doing so raises your risk of experiencing corticosteroid side effects, such as a high cortisol level or infection.
But this combination may be used in urgent cases. For example, both drugs may be prescribed for you if you’re having severe symptoms.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about whether other medications you take are safe to use with Uceris.
Whether you have health insurance or not, cost may be a factor when you’re considering Uceris. What you’ll pay for Uceris may depend on several things, such as your treatment plan and the pharmacy you use.
Here are a few things to consider regarding cost:
- Generic form: Uceris is available as the generic drug budesonide. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs. Talk with your doctor if you’d like to know whether generic budesonide could be an option for you.
- Cost information and savings coupons: You can visit Optum Perks* to get price estimates of what you’d pay for the tablet and rectal foam when using coupons from the site.
- Savings program: If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. An Instant Savings Card may be available from the manufacturer.
You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.
* Optum Perks is a sister site of Healthline. Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with insurance copays or benefits.
Below is important information you should consider before taking Uceris.
Taking a drug with certain medications, vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.
Uceris can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements as well as certain foods.
Before taking Uceris, 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.
Below is a list of medications that can interact with Uceris. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Uceris. If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
|Drug group or drug name||Drug examples|
|certain antifungals||• ketoconazole|
• itraconazole (Sporanox, Tolsura)
|certain antibiotics||• clarithromycin|
• ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
|protease inhibitors||• ritonavir (Norvir)|
• nelfinavir (Viracept)
|certain drugs for heart conditions||• diltiazem (Cardizem CD, others)|
• verapamil (Verelan, others)
|proton pump inhibitors||• omeprazole (Prilosec)|
• esomeprazole (Nexium)
|histamine-2 receptor blockers||• ranitidine|
• famotidine (Pepcid)
|antacids||• calcium carbonate (Tums)|
• aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide (Maalox)
Uceris can also interact with other substances such as:
- Foods: Uceris interacts with grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Your doctor will recommend that you do not consume grapefruit products during your Uceris treatment.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is not known to interact with Uceris. However, talk with your doctor before consuming alcohol if you’re prescribed Uceris. Drinking alcohol may
worsen intestinal inflammationand ulcerative colitis symptoms.
- Vaccines: During your treatment with Uceris, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before receiving a vaccine. Since Uceris can affect your immune system, it may impact how you respond to vaccines.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Uceris during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. But having untreated ulcerative colitis can lead to pregnancy complications, including preterm delivery.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or to breastfeed, talk with your doctor before starting Uceris treatment.
Uceris can sometimes cause harmful effects in people who have certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether Uceris is a good treatment option for you.
Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Uceris. Be sure to tell them if any of the following factors apply to you:
Uceris is used to induce (cause) remission of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis in adults. With remission, you have few or no symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in your large intestine, rectum, or both. This inflammation leads to tiny sores, called ulcers, along the lining of your intestine. You may have symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloody stools.
Uceris works to treat ulcerative colitis by lowering inflammation in your intestines. The extended-release tablets can be used to treat inflammation affecting any part of the large intestine or rectum. The rectal foam is prescribed to treat inflammation affecting the rectum or the far end of your large intestine (called the distal colon).
Other drugs are available that can treat ulcerative colitis. If you’d like to explore an alternative to Uceris, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that might work well for you.
The following drugs are similar to Uceris:
- aminosalicylates, such as:
- balsalazide (Colazal)
- sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
- other corticosteroids, such as:
- hydrocortisone rectal foam
- prednisone (Rayos)
- immunomodulators, such as:
- methotrexate (Trexall, others)
- azathioprine (Azasan)
- Janus kinase (JAK) blockers, such as:
- tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
- upadacitinib (Rinvoq)
- biologic drugs, such as:
- adalimumab (Humira) and its biosimilar drugs, such as adalimumab-adaz (Hyrimoz)
- golimumab (Simponi)
- ustekinumab (Stelara)
If you have questions about taking Uceris, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Questions you may want to ask include:
- How does Uceris compare with similar drugs used for ulcerative colitis?
- What factors determine the best Uceris form for me?
- If I develop side effects from taking Uceris, can my dose be decreased?
- Can you recommend ways to lower my risk of infection while I’m taking Uceris?
- Should I let you know if I make changes to my diet while I’m taking Uceris?
To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters, or check out the Ulcerative Colitis hub. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.
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.