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Do I need to continue Mesalazine for ulcerative colitis?

Q: I am suffering from ulcerative colitis. I am taking one tablet of Pentasa (mesalazine) 500mg OD. I have mild left sided ulcerative colitis. I did not have any flare up and I am doing fine now. Should I continue taking Mesalazine? Doctors have asked me to stop it now. I have been taking this drug for the past 15 months.

A:You mention that you are doing fine on 500mg once a day of Mesalazine. This is very reassuring, and there may be a good case for you to stop the mesalazine as a trial to see if that causes a flare up of the disease. The risks of a flare up of the left sided colitis following stoppage of the Mesalazine in mild left sided colitis are small, although they are not completely absent. If you do have a flare up, it can be quickly controlled using some Mesalazine enemas, but that will also make you more convinced for the need to take Mesalazine in a dose of at least 1000 mg a day as maintenance therapy life long.

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