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Mesalamine vs. Mesalazine — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 29, 2024
Mesalamine and mesalazine refer to the same medication, used in treating inflammatory bowel disease; naming varies by region, with "mesalamine" common in the U.S. and "mesalazine" in Europe.
Mesalamine vs. Mesalazine — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Mesalamine and Mesalazine


Key Differences

Mesalamine is a widely used drug in the United States for managing ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases. Whereas mesalazine is the term more commonly used in European countries and parts of Asia for the same chemical compound. The active ingredient helps in reducing inflammation in the colon.
The drug is known under the name mesalamine in American pharmacological contexts, which reflects the typical American English spelling conventions. On the other hand, mesalazine follows the British English convention, which often includes a 'z' where American English uses an 's', highlighting the differences in spelling across English variants.
Both terms describe the same medication available in various forms such as tablets, enemas, and suppositories, intended for direct effect on the colon. However, the branding and auxiliary labeling might differ slightly depending on the regional pharmaceutical regulations and marketing strategies.
Patients might encounter the name mesalamine when prescribed this medication in the U.S., emphasizing familiarity with local terminology. Conversely, in Europe, knowing the name mesalazine could facilitate better understanding when discussing treatment options with healthcare providers.
Regardless of the name used, both mesalamine and mesalazine have the same therapeutic uses and efficacy. The different names do not imply any variation in formula or effectiveness, making them completely interchangeable in terms of medical treatment.

Comparison Chart

Region of Usage

Predominantly in the U.S.
Mainly in Europe and parts of Asia

Spelling Convention

American English ('s' used)
British English ('z' used)

Forms Available

Tablets, enemas, suppositories
Tablets, enemas, suppositories

Medical Use

Treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases
Treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases

Branding and Marketing

Localized according to U.S. standards
Adapted to regional preferences in Europe

Compare with Definitions


A medication used to treat inflammation of the colon.
Mesalamine is prescribed to manage symptoms of ulcerative colitis.


An anti-inflammatory drug used in various gastrointestinal conditions.
Mesalazine has been effective in controlling her Crohn's disease symptoms.


Can lead to side effects like headaches or nausea.
After starting mesalamine, he experienced mild headaches.


Acts on the lining of the intestine to reduce inflammation.
Mesalazine targets the inflamed tissue, providing relief.


Often a long-term treatment option.
She has been taking mesalamine daily as part of her treatment plan.


Comes in both oral and rectal formulations.
Mesalazine suppositories are an option for those with distal colitis.


Works by reducing inflammation directly in the colon.
Mesalamine helps to decrease the frequency of flare-ups in patients.


Side effects may include abdominal pain or fever.
He reported abdominal pain, a common side effect of mesalazine.


Available in delayed-release tablets and enemas.
The doctor recommended mesalamine enemas for his localized colitis.


Requires consistent usage for best results.
Consistent use of mesalazine can lead to long-term remission.


A salicylate drug derived from sulfasalazine, C7H7NO3, used primarily to treat inflammatory bowel disease.


Mesalazine, also known as mesalamine or 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), is a medication used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. It is generally used for mildly to moderately severe disease.


The drug mesalazine.


(pharmaceutical drug) The active antiinflammatory component of sulfasalazine, 5-aminosalicylic acid, when used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Common Curiosities

Are mesalamine and mesalazine available as over-the-counter drugs?

No, both are available only by prescription.

What is mesalamine used for?

Mesalamine is used to treat inflammation in conditions like ulcerative colitis.

What forms does mesalamine come in?

It is available in tablets, enemas, and suppositories.

Can mesalazine cause allergic reactions?

Yes, like any medication, mesalazine can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

Is there a difference in effectiveness between mesalamine and mesalazine?

No, mesalamine and mesalazine are the same drug and equally effective.

How does mesalazine work?

Mesalazine works by reducing inflammation directly in the lining of the intestine.

What should I do if I miss a dose of mesalamine?

If you miss a dose of mesalamine, take it as soon as you remember unless it's almost time for the next dose.

Can mesalamine be used for Crohn's disease?

Yes, mesalamine can be used to manage symptoms of Crohn's disease in some cases.

Is mesalazine safe for long-term use?

Yes, mesalazine is generally considered safe for long-term use under medical supervision.

What are common side effects of mesalazine?

Common side effects include headache, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Is mesalazine expensive?

The cost of mesalazine can vary depending on the country and the healthcare system.

Are there any dietary restrictions while taking mesalamine?

There are no specific dietary restrictions while taking mesalamine, but individual advice from a healthcare provider is recommended.

Can pregnant women take mesalamine?

Mesalamine should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed and prescribed by a doctor.

Can mesalazine interact with other medications?

Yes, mesalazine can interact with certain medications, so it's important to inform your healthcare provider about all drugs you are taking.

How long does it take for mesalamine to work?

The onset of action for mesalamine can vary, but some patients may see improvement within a few weeks.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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