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Mesalazine liquid enema for inflammatory bowel disease

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Mesalazine liquid enema for inflammatory bowel disease

This leaflet is about the use of mesalazine liquid enema for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are known as inflammatory bowel diseases. Mesalazine is also available as a foam enema, suppositories and in oral forms – these are described in separate leaflets available on our website.

Information Standard quality markThis leaflet has been written specifically about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Your child should not have mesalazine if they are allergic to aspirin or other salicylate drugs.

Name of drug

Mesalazine liquid enema
Brand names:
Asacol®, Salofalk®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

In inflammatory bowel diseases, parts of the large intestine (colon), small intestine, back passage (rectum) and anus become inflamed (red and swollen) and sores (ulcers) may form. This causes symptoms such as diarrhoea, pain, stomach cramps and bleeding from the back passage.

Mesalazine reduces the inflammation in the bowels and so reduces the symptoms. Rectal mesalazine is used to treat the lower parts of the colon and the rectum, which are difficult to treat with oral mesalazine.

What is mesalazine liquid enema available as?

  • Pentasa: 1 g in 100 mL
  • Salofalk: 2 g in 59 mL

When should I give mesalazine liquid enema?

Mesalazine liquid enema is usually given once a day. This is usually at bedtime.

Give the enema at about the same time each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of mesalazine (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give it?

Enemas have to be administered through the anus into the rectum (back passage or bottom).

They must not be taken by mouth.

  • Ideally your child should open their bowels (do a poo) before you administer the liquid enema.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after administering the enema.
  • If your child empties their bowels (does a poo) within 15 minutes of administering the enema, you will need to repeat it.

To administer the liquid enema

  • To prepare Pentasa: shake it well. Break the seal by twisting the nozzle anticlockwise. Use one of the plastic disposal bags like a glove (and use to wrap bag for disposal after use).
  • To prepare Salofalk: shake the bottle for 30 seconds. Remove the protective cap from the applicator and hold the bottle upright.
  • Your child should lie on their left side with the left leg straight and the right leg bent forward or kneel with their upper chest and arms resting on a bed.
  • Carefully insert the applicator tip as far as is comfortable into the rectum.
  • Gently squeeze out the enema liquid. Keep the bottle compressed while removing it from the rectum.
  • Your child should remain relaxed in the same position for at least 10 minutes until the urge to open the bowels has passed.

When should the medicine start working?

Mesalazine rectal enema will start to work straight away but it may take a week or so for your child’s symptoms to improve.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

If your child is sick, you do not need to worry, as the mesalazine will work as normal.

What if I forget to give it?

If possible, give the enema in the morning, as long as this is at least 12 hours before the evening enema is due. However, if this not convenient, just do the enema as usual at bed time.

What if I give too much?

It is unlikely that you will do harm if you give your child an extra dose of mesalazine by mistake. If you are worried that you may have given your child too much mesalazine, contact your doctor or NHS Direct (0845 4647 in England and Wales; 0845 24 24 24 in Scotland).

Take your child to hospital if they seem unwell. Take the medicine container or packet with you, even if it is empty. This will be useful to the doctor.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Side-effects you must do something about

If your child is short of breath or wheezing, has swelling of the face, lips or tongue, or a rash, they may be allergic to mesalazine. Take them to hospital or call an
ambulance straight away.

Contact your doctor straight away if your child has diarrhoea that gets suddenly worse or contains blood or sudden or severe stomach pain.

Other side-effects you need to know about

  • After using the enema your child may get pain or cramps in their stomach. They may also get itching and discomfort around the anus and rectal area and they may feel that they want to open their bowels frequently. If the problem continues for more than a week or gets worse, contact your doctor.
  • Your child may get a mild rash or itching when they first start on mesalazine. You can give your child an antihistamine to help. If the problem continues for more than a week or gets worse, contact your doctor.

There may, sometimes, be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor.

Can other medicines be given at the same time?

  • Do not give your child ibuprofen or other medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about mesalazine?

  • Your child may find it difficult to keep the enema liquid in place at first, and they may feel that they want to open their bowels frequently afterwards. The time that they can keep the enema in place will increase as they get used to it.

If someone accidentally swallows enema liquid, give them plenty of water to drink and contact your doctor straight way or take the person to hospital. Take the medicine pack with you so that the doctors know what has been swallowed.

Enemas may contain sulphites, which are used as preservatives. If your child has asthma or is sensitive to sulphites, they may get an allergic reaction such as rash or shortness of breath.

  • Different brands of enema have different formulations. If your child reacts to an ingredient in one, they may get on better with another brand. Discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If your doctor changes the brand of mesalazine and younotice that your child’s symptoms are worse or different, discuss this with your doctor. Remember to tell any new doctor or pharmacist the brand name and dose of the medicine your child usually has.
  • Be careful not to spill the mesalazine solution, as it can permanently stain clothing and fabrics, flooring, painted surfaces, marble, granite, vinyl, and enamel.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give the medicine at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • If you are not sure a medicine is working, contact your doctor but continue to give the medicine as usual in the meantime. Do not give extra doses, as you may do harm.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
  • If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.
  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container and packaging it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about mesalazine and about other medicines used to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

You can also get useful information from: 
Publication date: 
30/01/2012