Medications

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5-ASA (5-aminosalicylic acid; mesalamine; mesalazine)
A gastrointestinal anti-inflammatory medication that helps reduce bowel inflammation due to ulcerative colitis. The active component in prescription drugs such as Asacol®, Dipentum®, Pentasa®, Salazopyrin®, S.A.S.®, and Salofalk®. (Although 5-ASA is the active component of each of these medications, differences in their formulations allow them to deliver the 5-ASA to different parts of the bowel and may account for different adverse effect profiles — particularly in the case of products that contain sulfasalazine.)
6-MP (6-mercaptopurine; mercaptopurine)
An immunosuppressive drug, similar to azathioprine, that may be used to treat IBD flare-ups. Brand name(s) include Purinethol®.
Adalimumab
A fully human monoclonal antibody that may be used in IBD when other drugs are not effective. Brand name(s) include Humira®.
Asacol®
See 5-ASA. Asacol® tablets are covered with a special enteric coating that delays the release of 5-ASA until the tablet reaches the terminal ileum and colon.
azathioprine
An immunosuppressive drug that may be used to treat IBD flare-ups. Brand name(s) include Imuran®.
budenoside
A glucocorticoid (see glucocorticoids). Brand name(s) include Entocort®.
cholestyramine
A drug that binds to excess bile acids, that may be used to treat certain types of diarrhea. Brand name(s) include Questran®.
Ciloxan®
See ciprofloxacin.
Cipro®
See ciprofloxacin.
ciprofloxacin
An antibiotic drug that may be helpful in some cases of IBD. Brand name(s) include Ciloxan® and Cipro®.
Colestid®
See colestipol.
colestipol
A drug that binds to excess bile acids, that may be used to treat certain types of diarrhea. Brand name(s) include Colestid®.
corticosteroids
See glucocorticoids.
cortisol
See glucocorticoids.
cyclosporine
An immunosuppressive drug that may sometimes be used to treat IBD. Brand name(s) include Neoral®.
Dipentum®
A gastrointestinal anti-inflammatory medication that contains olsalazine (a special form of 5-ASA) — formulated to act primarily in the colon — as the active ingredient. See also 5-ASA and olsalazine.
Entocort®
See budenoside and glucocorticoids.
Flagyl®
See metronidazole.
glucocorticoids; glucocorticosteroids
A family of hormones produced by the adrenal glands, or synthetic substitutes. Examples include cortisol, hydrocortisone, and prednisone. In addition to the anti-inflammatory activity that makes them effective in the treatment of severe bouts of IBD, glucocorticoids have a variety of other actions that account for some of their adverse effects.
Humira®
See adalimumab.
hydrocortisone
See glucocorticoids.
Imodium®
See loperamide.
Imuran®
See azathioprine.
infliximab
A monoclonal antibody that may be used in IBD when other drugs are not effective. Brand name(s) include Remicade®.
loperamide
An anti-diarrheal drug that slows contraction of muscles in the intestine. Brand name(s) include Imodium®.
mercaptopurine
See 6-MP.
mesalamine
See 5-ASA.
mesalazine
See 5-ASA.
Mesasal®
See 5-ASA.
methotrexate
An immunosuppressive drug that may be used in IBD when other drugs are not effective. Brand name(s) include Rheumatrex®.
metronidazole
An antibiotic drug that may be helpful in some cases of IBD. Brand name(s) include Flagyl®.
Neoral®
See cyclosporine.
olsalazine
A gastrointestinal anti-inflammatory medication that consists of two molecules of 5-ASA linked together. Bacteria in the colon break the link, and release the 5-ASA. Brand name(s) include Dipentum®. See 5-ASA.
Pentasa®
See 5-ASA. Pentasa® tablets are specially formulated for delayed release of 5-ASA in both the small bowel (jejunum and ileum) and colon.
prednisone; prednisolone
See glucocorticoids.
Questran®
See cholestyramine.
Remicade®
See infliximab.
Salazopyrin®
See sulfasalazine.
Salofalk®
See 5-ASA. Salofalk® tablets are covered with a special enteric coating that delays the release of 5-ASA until the tablets reach the terminal ileum and colon.
S.A.S.®
See sulfasalazine.
sulfasalazine
A gastrointestinal anti-inflammatory medication that consists of a molecule of 5-ASA linked to a molecule of sulfapyridine. Bacteria in the colon break the link, and release the two components. Although the sulfapyridine component has no activity against IBD, it is responsible for most of the drug's adverse effects. Sulfasalazine is used to treat flare-ups and to maintain remission in IBD. Brand name(s) include S.A.S.® and Salazopyrin®. Patients who are allergic to "sulfa" antibiotics (such as Bactrim®, Septra®, and others) should not take medications that contain sulfasalazine.