Form, strengths, how to take it, and more

If you have ulcerative colitis (UC), your doctor might suggest Pentasa as a treatment option. It is a prescription drug used in adults to:

  • treat mild to moderate UC (periods of flare-ups when the disease is active and causing many symptoms)
  • induce remission of UC

Pentasa comes as a time-release capsule that you swallow and contains the active ingredient mesalamine. (An active ingredient is what makes a medicine work.) It belongs to a group of medicines called aminosalicylates.

This article describes the dosage of Pentasa, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Pentasa, check out this in-depth article.

To note: The table below highlights the basics of the Pentasa dosage. Be sure to read on for more details.

Dosing regimen for induction of remission and treatment of mild to moderate UC

Please keep in mind that this article covers the standard dosage regimen of Pentasa, which is provided by the drug manufacturer. But always follow the dosage instructions prescribed by your doctor.

Below is information about the standard dosage of Pentasa

What is the form of Pentasa?

Pentasa comes in the form of an extended-release capsule. The capsule has a coating that helps ensure the medicine doesn’t break down until it reaches your colon. This helps the medicine work where your body needs it.

What are the strengths of Pentasa?

Pentasa capsules are available in two strengths: 250 milligrams (mg) and 500 mg.

What are the usual dosages of Pentasa?

The information below describes commonly used or recommended dosages. But be sure to take the dose your doctor has prescribed for you. They will determine the best dosage to meet your needs.

The usual dosage for treating ulcerative colitis (UC) and for inducing remission of UC is 4000 mg per day.

For this dosage, you will take two to four Pentasa capsules four times a day, usually as follows:

  • If you are taking the 250 mg capsules, you will take four capsules per dose.
  • If you are taking the 500mg capsules, you will take two capsules per dose.

This is the usual starting and maintenance dose for treatment and for inducing remission. (A maintenance dose is the amount of medicine you need to take long term to effectively treat your condition.)

It is best to take your doses at the same times each day, approximately 6 hours apart. You should continue to take the prescribed dose each day for as long as your doctor recommends.

Is Pentasa used long term?

Yes, Pentasa is generally used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it is safe and effective for your condition, you will likely take it long term.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Pentasa dosage.

How long does the recommended dose of Pentasa take to work in ulcerative colitis?

Pentasa starts working to immediately reduce inflammation in your gut. But it may take a few weeks for your symptoms to improve.

The most studied dosage is 4,000 milligrams (mg) per day. This is the dosage that has been shown to be safe and useful for the induction of remission and the treatment of mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis (UC).

What is the dosage of Pentasa to treat Crohn’s disease?

There is no recommended dosage for the treatment of Crohn’s disease as Pentasa is not used to treat this disease. Pentasa is currently only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat UC.

Like UC, Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Both conditions affect the lining of your gut, but they can affect different parts of it. Symptoms can also be different for each disease.

Pentasa can sometimes be prescribed off-label to treat Crohn’s disease. (With off-label use, a drug is prescribed for a condition that it is not approved to treat.)

If you have Crohn’s disease and want to learn more about treatment options for your condition, talk to your doctor.

Pentasa comes in the form of a time-release capsule that you swallow.

The usual dosage for treating ulcerative colitis (UC) is 4,000 milligrams (mg) per day. For this dosage, you will take two to four Pentasa capsules four times a day, usually as follows:

  • If you are prescribed the 250 mg capsules, you will take four capsules per dose.
  • If you are prescribed the 500 mg capsules, you will take two capsules per dose.

This is the usual starting and maintenance dose. (A maintenance dose is the amount of medicine you need to take long term to effectively treat your condition.)

It is best to take your doses at the same times each day, approximately 6 hours apart. You should continue to take the prescribed dose each day for as long as your doctor recommends.

You should swallow Pentasa capsules whole. Although you shouldn’t crush or chew Pentasa capsules, you can open them and sprinkle them over applesauce or yogurt. You must eat the entire contents of the capsule immediately.

If you have trouble swallowing capsules, check out this article for tips on how to take this form of medicine. (These tips may be helpful if you don’t have applesauce or yogurt to mix with your capsule contents.)

For more information on expiration, storage and disposal of Pentasa, see this article.

Accessible medication containers and labels

If you have trouble reading the prescription label on your medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use Braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy does not.

If you have difficulty opening medicine bottles, tell your pharmacist. They may be able to supply Pentasa in an easy-open container. They may also have tips to make it easier to open the medicine container.

If you miss a dose, take the next dose at the usual time the following day. Do not double your dose, as this may increase the risk of side effects.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Pentasa on time, try using a medication reminder. This may include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app to your phone.

Do not take more Pentasa than your doctor has prescribed, as this may cause serious side effects.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms caused by overdose may include:

What to do if you take too much Pentasa

Call your doctor right away if you think you have taken too much Pentasa. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids. Water or sports drinks such as Gatorade or Pedialyte are best. These will help correct your body’s fluid and electrolyte balance and help your kidney function.

You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use their online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

The sections above describe the usual dosage provided by the manufacturer of the drug. If your doctor recommends Pentasa, he will prescribe the dosage that is right for you.

Remember that you should not change your dose of Pentasa without your doctor’s advice. Take Pentasa exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your current dosage. Here are some sample questions you might want to ask:

  • Should my dosage change if Pentasa is not working well enough for me?
  • Are there any medications I should not take while taking Pentasa?
  • Should my dose of Pentasa be changed if I am taking other medications at the same time?
  • Would a different dosage increase or decrease my risk of side effects from Pentasa?
  • If I have a history of kidney or liver problems, can I take Pentasa?

For advice from others living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis, join the Bezzy IBD Community. For treatment news and tips for managing your condition, sign up for Healthline’s IBD newsletter.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually correct, complete 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 for all specific uses.

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