Compare Rowasa vs. Sulfasalazine

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

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Rowasa (mesalamine)

Prescription only
Treats mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.

Rowasa (mesalamine) effectively relieves symptoms of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, but can only be used rectally so it only works on a small part of your intestines.

Reduces inflammation.

Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) is used to treat moderate to severe inflammatory bowel conditions. It's also used with other medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Upsides
  • Rowasa (mesalamine) is the first-choice treatment for disease at the far end of the colon.
  • Topical therapies, like enemas, provide a quicker response time than oral forms.
  • Rowasa (mesalamine) is only used once a day at bedtime.
  • Better tolerated and less side effects compared to the oral forms.
  • Available in a sulfite-free form, sfRowasa, for people who have a sulfite allergy.
  • Can slow down the progression of your rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Helps control your stomach problems if you're taking it for ulcerative colitis.
Downsides
  • Must keep the suspension in your rectum as long as you can (up to 8 hours).
  • Need to use Rowasa (mesalamine) for 3 to 6 weeks when treating disease.
  • Combination therapy with oral and rectal forms may be needed for some people.
  • Rowasa (mesalamine) can stain fabric, flooring, painted surfaces, marble, granite, vinyl, and enamel.
  • Requires constant lab monitoring, at least every other week when you first start using it.
  • Not a good option if you have kidney or liver disease.
  • If you're allergic to sulfa drugs or aspirin, you can't take Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine).
  • Can interfere with lab test results, so let your doctor know if you're taking this drug.
  • Interacts with a lot of different drugs and can also cause many side effects.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Enema
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
12possible side effects
  • Abdominal pain, cramps, or discomfort
    8%
  • Headache
    7%
  • Gas
    6%
  • Nausea
    6%
  • Flu
    5%
  • Tiredness
    3%
  • Fever
    3%
  • Rash
    3%
  • Cold/sore throat
    2%
  • Diarrhea
    2%
  • Leg/joint pain
    2%
  • Dizziness
    2%
See more detailed side effects
8possible side effects
  • Nausea
    19%
  • Stomach problems
    13%
  • Rash
    13%
  • Headache
    9%
  • Stomach pain
    8%
  • Vomiting
    8%
  • Fever
    5%
  • Dizziness
    4%
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Risks and risk factors
  • Sulfite allergy
  • Abnormal reaction to Rowasa (mesalamine)
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Kidney, liver, or blood problems
  • Serious skin reactions
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Serious infections
  • Drug interactions
See more detailed risks and warnings