Most patients who are intolerant or hypersensitive to sulphasalazine are able to take PENTASA without risk of similar reactions. However, caution is recommended when treating patients allergic to sulphasalazine (risk of allergy to salicylates). In case of acute intolerance reactions such as abdominal cramps, acute abdominal pain, fever, severe headache and rash, therapy should be discontinued immediately.
Caution is recommended in patients with impaired liver function. Liver function parameters like ALT or AST should be assessed prior to and during treatment, at the discretion of the treating physician.
The drug is not recommended for use in patients with renal impairment. The renal function should be monitored regularly (e.g. serum creatinine), especially during the initial phase of treatment. Urinary status (dip sticks) should be determined prior to and during treatment at the discretion of the treating physician. Mesalazine induced nephrotoxicity should be suspected in patients developing renal dysfunction during treatment. The concurrent use of other known nephrotoxic agents should increase monitoring frequency of renal function.
Patients with pulmonary disease, in particular asthma, should be very carefully monitored during a course of treatment. Please refer to Adverse Reactions.
Mesalazine-induced cardiac hypersensitivity reactions (myo- and pericarditis) have been reported rarely. Serious blood dyscrasias have been reported very rarely with mesalazine. Blood test for differential blood count is recommended prior to and during treatment, at the discretion of the treating physician. As stated in Interactions, concomitant treatment with mesalazine can increase the risk of blood dyscrasia in patients receiving azathioprine, or 6-mercaptopurine or thioguanine. Treatment should be discontinued on suspicion or evidence of these adverse reactions.
As a guideline, follow-up tests are recommended 14 days after commencement of treatment, then a further two to three tests at intervals of 4 weeks. If the findings are normal, follow-up tests should be carried out every three months. If additional symptoms occur, these tests should be performed immediately.
Effects on Ability to Drive and Use Machines: Treatment with PENTASA is unlikely to affect the ability to drive and/or use machines.