Generic name: Mesalamine.

Other brand names: Asacol, Pentasa.

Rowasa is an anti-inflammatory. It works specifically to reduce inflammation of the bowel.

Quick Facts About Rowasa


Used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the large intestine and rectum). Also used to treat inflammation of the lower colon and rectum.

Rowasa Dosage

Take suspension enema, suppositories, capsule, or tablet exactly as prescribed. Do not crush or chew capsule or tablet; swallow whole.

  • Usual adult dose: suspension enema — 1 rectal enema (60 milliliters) per day at bedtime and retained for 8 hours. Treatment lasts 3 to 6 weeks. Rowasa suppositories— 1 rectal suppository (500 milligrams) taken 2 times per day. Should retain for 1 to 3 hours or longer. Treatment lasts 3 to 6 weeks. Pentasa capsules — 4 capsules taken 4 times per day. Asacol tablets — 2 tablets taken 3 times per day for 6 weeks.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Rowasa Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

no serious overdose effects reported for Rowasa. Overdose symptoms of Pentasa or Asacol: confusion, diarrhea, drowsiness, headache, hyperventilation, ringing in ears, sweating, vomiting. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: Rowasa suspension enema —  flu-like symptoms, gas, headache, nausea, stomach pain or cramps. Rowasa suppositories — diarrhea, dizziness, gas, headache, stomach pain. Pentasa and Asacol — diarrhea, headache, nausea.

Less common Rowasa side effects: Rowasa suspension enema — back pain, bloating, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, hemorrhoids, itching, leg or joint pain, pain on insertion of enema tip, rash, rectal pain, sore throat tiredness, weakness. Rowasa suppositories — acne, cold symptoms, fever, inflammation of the colon, nausea, rash, rectal pain, swelling, weakness.

Rare side effects: Pentasa and Asacol — abdominal pain; abdominal swelling; acne; belching; blood in urine: bloody diarrhea; breast pain; bruising; conjunctivitis (pinkeye); constipation; depression; difficulty sleeping; difficulty swallowing; dizziness; dry skin; duodenal ulcer; eczema; fever; fluid retention; general feeling of illness; hair loss; hives; inflammation of pancreas; itching; joint pain; Kawasaki-like syndrome (rash, swollen glands, fever, mouth inflammation strawberry tongue); lack or loss of appetite; leg cramps; menstrual irregularities; mouth sores and infections; muscle pain; nail problems; palpitations, rash; rectal bleeding; sensitivity to light; skin eruptions; sleepiness; stomach and intestinal bleeding stool changes; sweating; thirst; tingling or pins anc needles; ulcer of the esophagus; uncontrollable, bowel movements; urinary frequency; weakness; worsening of ulcerative colitis; vomiting. Rare side effects: Rowasa suspension — constipation, hair loss, insomnia, swelling of arms or legs, urinary burning.


Inform your doctor before combining Rowasa with sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).

No known food/other substance interactions. 

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Appears in breast milk; could affect a nursing infant.

No special precautions apply to seniors.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • Stop taking medicine and contact your doctor immediately if you experience: bloody diarrhea, cramping, fever, rash, severe headache, sudden, severe stomach pain.
  • Should not use if sensitive to or allergic to this medication, salicylates (aspirin), or sulfites.
  • Stop using and contact your doctor if you develop rash or fever. Severe asthma attack due to sulfites in suspension enema may result (rarely) in death.
  • If you have a history of kidney disease or are using other anti-inflammatory medications such as Dipentum, doctor should monitor kidney function.
  • In rare cases, pericarditis (inflammation of membrane surrounding heart) has occurred with Rowasa use.
  • May aggravate colitis.
  • Suspension enema may stain clothes and fabrics.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Rowasa side effects, please contact your healthcare provider