Compare mercaptopurine vs. Asacol

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Purinethol
(Mercaptopurine)

Lialda
(Mesalamine)

Coming soon.Treats inflammatory bowel disease. Lialda (Mesalamine) is an effective first-line medicine for inflammatory bowel disease. There isn't a generic version and you'll have to take it multiple times a day.
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Reviews & ratings
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Side effects
mercaptopurineAsacol

We haven’t found good data for mercaptopurine side effects.

FDA side effect reports for mercaptopurine »
  • Pain 6%
  • Indigestion 5%
  • Constipation 4%
  • Abdominal pain 4%
  • Vomiting 3%
  • Rash 3%
  • Stiff or rigid muscles 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Joint pain 2%
  • Back pain 2%
More Asacol side effects »
How it works
mercaptopurineAsacol
Coming soon.Lialda (Mesalamine) is an anti-inflammatory medication. Researchers don't know exactly how Lialda (Mesalamine) works in the colon, but it seems to lower the chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.
Type of medication
mercaptopurineAsacol
Coming soon.
Anti-inflammatoryPrescription only
Available as
mercaptopurineAsacol
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Enema
  • Suppository
Used for (click to learn more)
mercaptopurineAsacol
  • Acute lymphoid leukemia
Risk factors for serious side effects
mercaptopurineAsacol
Coming soon.
  • Asthma
  • Rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Aspirin allergy
  • NSAID allergy
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Age 65 or older
  • Liver problems
  • Taking Lialda (Mesalamine) at the start of treatment
Detailed Lialda (Mesalamine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
mercaptopurineAsacol
DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
  • Not a good option if you have kidney disease.
  • Lialda (Mesalamine) is broken down by the kidney and liver. If you have kidney or liver problems, talk to your doctor because you may need to take a different dose of the medication.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
mercaptopurineAsacol
Coming soon.
  • Effective first-line medication for treating and lowering the symptoms of mild inflammatory bowel disease.
  • About half the people who have mild to moderate colon inflammation and take Lialda (Mesalamine) will see improvement.
  • Available in tablets, capsules, enemas, and suppositories.
  • Certain forms of Lialda (Mesalamine) can be used during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you're pregnant, or plan on becoming pregnant, and you want to take Lialda (Mesalamine).
Downsides and risks
mercaptopurineAsacol
Coming soon.
  • No generic versions are available for the tablets, capsules, and suppositories (meaning it could be somewhat expensive).
  • Doesn't work well for severe colon inflammation.
  • You may need to take Lialda (Mesalamine) three or four times a day.
  • Not a good option if you have kidney disease.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
mercaptopurineAsacol
Coming soon.
  • Don't take Lialda (Mesalamine) if you're allergic to aspirin. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any drug allergies you have before starting Lialda (Mesalamine).
  • Taking antacids with Lialda (Mesalamine) can make your inflammation worse. Talk to your doctor before you make any changes.
  • You can sunburn more easily when taking Lialda (Mesalamine). Use sunscreen and protective clothing when you go outdoors.
  • Don't break, chew, or crush the tablets because they're coated and won't work as well.
  • The suppositories should be kept in for at least 1 to 3 hours to get the most benefit.
Learn more
More about mercaptopurineSide effectsFDA package insert
More about AsacolSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert