PENTASA® Slow Release Tablets 500mg
Each tablet contains mesalazine 500mg
For a full list of excipients, see section 6.1
Slow Release Tablets
White-grey to pale-brown, specked round tablets, scored and marked 500mg on one side and 'PENTASA' on the reverse side.
PENTASA Slow Release Tablets 500mg are indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate exacerbations of ulcerative colitis. For the maintenance of remission of ulcerative colitis.
Individual dosage of up to 4g mesalazine once daily or in two or three divided doses.
Individual dosage. Recommended dosage, 2g mesalazine once daily. Can also be taken in divided doses.
The safety and efficacy in children below 6 years of age have not been established.
There is only limited documentation for an effect in children (age 6-18 years).
Children 6 years of age and older:
Active disease: To be determined individually, starting with 30-50 mg/kg/day in divided doses. Maximum dose: 75 mg/kg/day in divided doses. The total dose should not exceed 4 g/day (maximum adult dose).
Maintenance treatment: To be determined individually, starting with 15-30 mg/kg/day in divided doses. The total dose should not exceed 2 g/day (recommended adult dose).
It is generally recommended that half the adult dose may be given to children up to a body weight of 40 kg; and the normal adult dose to those above 40 kg.
The normal adult dosage may be used .
Method of administration
The tablets must not be crushed or chewed. They may be swallowed whole or broken up. To facilitate swallowing, the tablets may be dispersed in 50ml of cold water. Stir and drink immediately.
PENTASA is contraindicated in:
- patients with known hypersensitivity to mesalazine, salicylates or any of the excipients listed in section 6.1.
- patients with severe liver and/or renal impairment
Caution is recommended when treating patients allergic to sulphasalazine (risk of allergy to salicylates). Severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs), including Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), have been reported in association with mesalazine treatment. In case of acute symptoms of intolerance, i.e. abdominal cramps, abdominal pain, fever and severe headache, and/or the first appearance of signs and symptoms of severe skin reactions, such as skin rash, mucosal lesions, or any other signs of hypersensitivity, the treatment 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 impaired renal function and in patients with haemorrhagic diathesis. Baseline renal function measurement is required in all patients initiating treatment with mesalazine. Urinary status (dip sticks) should be determined prior to and during treatment at the discretion of the treating physician. The renal function should be regularly monitored (e.g. serum creatinine), especially during the initial phase of treatment based on clinical judgment taking baseline renal function into account. Mesalazine induced nephrotoxicity should be suspected in patients developing renal dysfunction during treatment. The concurrent use of other known nephrotoxic agents, such as NSAIDs and azathioprine, may increase the risk of renal reactions. Treatment should be discontinued if renal function deteriorates.
Caution is recommended in patients with active peptic ulcer.
Patients with pulmonary disease, in particular asthma, should be very carefully monitored during a course of treatment, please refer to section 4.8.
Mesalazine-induced cardiac hypersensitivity reactions (myo- and pericarditis) have been reported rarely. Serious blood dyscrasias have been reported very rarely with mesalazine (see section 4.5). Blood tests for differential blood counts is recommended prior to and during treatment, at the discretion of the treating physician. Treatment should be discontinued on suspicion or evidence of these adverse reactions.
Cases of nephrolithiasis have been reported with the use of mesalazine including stones with a 100% mesalazine content. It is recommended to ensure adequate fluid intake during treatment.
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.
Mesalazine may produce red-brown urine discoloration after contact with sodium hypochlorite bleach (e.g. in toilets cleaned with sodium hypochlorite contained in certain bleaches).
No interaction studies have been performed. Combination therapy with PENTASA and azathioprine, or 6-mercaptopurine, or thioguanine, have shown a higher frequency of myelosuppressive effects, and an interaction cannot be ruled out, however, the mechanism behind the interaction is not established. Regular monitoring of white blood cells is recommended and the dosage regimen of thiopurine should be adjusted accordingly.
There is weak evidence that mesalazine might decrease the anticoagulant effect of warfarin.
PENTASA should not be used during pregnancy and lactation except when the potential benefit of the treatment outweighs the possible hazards in the opinion of the physician. The underlying condition itself (Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)) may increase risks for adverse pregnancy outcome.
Mesalazine is known to cross the placental barrier and its concentration in umbilical cord plasma is lower than the concentration in maternal plasma. The metabolite acetyl-mesalazine is found at similar concentrations in umbilical cord and maternal plasma. Animal studies on oral mesalazine do not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to pregnancy, embryo/foetal development, parturition or postnatal development. There are no adequate and well controlled studies of PENTASA use in pregnant women. Limited published human data on mesalazine show no increase in the overall rate of congenital malformations. Some data show an increased rate of preterm birth, stillbirth, and low birth weight; however, these adverse pregnancy outcomes are also associated with active inflammatory bowel disease.
Blood disorders (leucopenia, thrombocytopenia, anaemia) have been reported in new-borns of mothers being treated with PENTASA.
In one single case after long-term use of a high dose of mesalazine (2-4 g, orally) during pregnancy, renal failure in a neonate was reported.
Mesalazine is excreted in breast milk. The mesalazine concentration in breast milk is lower than in maternal blood, whereas the metabolite, -acetylmesalazine- appears in similar or increased concentrations. No controlled studies with PENTASA during breast-feeding have been carried out. Only limited experience during lactation in women after oral application is available to date. Hypersensitivity reactions like diarrhoea cannot be excluded. If the infant develops diarrhoea, breast-feeding should be discontinued.
Animal data on Mesalazine show no effect on male and female fertility
PENTASA has no or negligible influence on the ability to drive and/or use machines.
Summary of the safety profile
The most frequent adverse reactions seen in clinical trials are diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, headache, vomiting, and rash. Hypersensitivity reactions and drug fever may occasionally occur, and severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs), including Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), Stevens- Johnson syndrome (SJS) and Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), have been reported in association with mesalazine treatment (see section 4.4).
Frequency of adverse effects, based on clinical trials and reports from post-marketing surveillance
≥1/100 to <1/10
≥1/10,000 to ≤1/1,000
Not known (cannot be estimated from the available data).
Blood and the lymphatic system disorders
Altered blood counts (anaemia, aplastic anaemia, agranulocytosis, neutropenia, leukopenia (incl. granulocytopenia), pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia, and eosinophilia (as part of an allergic reaction)).
Immune system disorders
Hypersensitivity reaction including anaphylactic reaction,
Nervous system disorders
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
Allergic alveolitis, allergic and fibrotic lung reactions (incl. dyspnoea, coughing, bronchospasm, pulmonary eosinophilia, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary infiltration, pneumonitis)
Increased amylase (blood and/or urine)
Increased liver enzymes, cholestasis parameters and bilirubin, hepatotoxicity (incl. hepatitis*, cholestatic hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatic failure)
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
Rash (incl. urticaria, erythematous rash)
Alopecia (reversible), dermatitis allergic, erythema multiforme
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)/Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
Lupus erythematosus-like syndrome
Renal and urinary disorders
Renal function impairment (incl. interstitial nephritis* (acute and chronic), nephrotic syndrome, renal insufficiency acute/chronic)
Reproductive system and breast disorders
General disorders and administration site conditions
(*) The mechanism of mesalazine-induced myo- and pericarditis, pancreatitis, nephritis and hepatitis is unknown, but it might be of allergic origin.
(**) Photosensitivity: More severe reactions are reported in patients with pre-existing skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and atopic eczema.
(***) See section 4.4 for further information.
It is important to note that several of these disorders can also be attributed to the inflammatory bowel disease itself.
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme, website: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard, or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App store.
Acute experience in animals:
A single intravenous dose of mesalazine in rats of 920 mg/kg and single oral doses of mesalazine in pigs up to 5 g/kg were not lethal.
There is limited clinical experience with overdose of PENTASA which does not indicate renal or hepatic toxicity. Since PENTASA is an amino salicylate, symptoms of salicylate toxicity may occur. Symptoms of salicylate over dosage are well described in the literature.
There have been reports of patients taking oral daily doses of 8 grams for a month without any adverse events.
There is no specific antidote and the treatment is symptomatic and supportive.
The treatment at hospital includes close monitoring of renal function.
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Intestinal anti-inflammatory agents, aminosalicylic acid and similar agents
ATC code: A07E C02
Mesalazine is the active component of sulphasalazine, which has been used for a long time in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The therapeutic value of mesalazine appears to be due to local effect on the inflamed intestinal tissue, rather than to systemic effect. There is information suggesting that severity of colonic inflammation in ulcerative colitis patients treated with mesalazine is inversely correlated with mucosal concentrations of mesalazine.
Increased leucocyte migration, abnormal cytokine production, increased production of arachidonic acid metabolites, particularly leukotriene B4 and increased free radical formation in the inflamed intestinal tissue are all present in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The mechanism of action of mesalazine is not fully understood although mechanisms such as activation of the γ-form of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR-γ) and inhibition of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) in the intestinal mucosa have been implicated. Mesalazine has in-vitro and in-vivo pharmacological effects that inhibit leucocyte chemotaxis, decrease cytokine and leukotriene production and scavenge for free radicals. It is currently unknown which, if any of these mechanisms play a predominant role in the clinical efficacy of mesalazine.
The risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) is slightly increased in ulcerative colitis. Observed effects of mesalazine in experimental models and patient biopsies support the role of mesalazine in prevention of colitis-associated CRC, with down regulation of both inflammation dependent and non-inflammation dependent signalling pathways involved in the development of colitisassociated CRC. However, data from meta-analyses, including both referral and non-referral populations, provide inconsistent clinical information regarding the benefit of mesalazine in the carcinogenesis risk associated with ulcerative colitis.
General Characteristics of the Active Substance
Disposition and local availability:
The therapeutic activity of mesalazine most likely depends on a local contact of the drug with the diseased area of the intestinal mucosa. PENTASA tablets consist of ethylcellulose-coated microgranules of mesalazine. The tablet disintegrate upon administration to coated microgranules and enter the duodenum within an hour of administration, independent of food coadministration. Mesalazine is continuously released from the coated microgranules throughout the gastrointestinal tract in any enteral pH conditions.
Bioavailability of PENTASA after oral administration can be estimated to approx. 30%, based on urine recovery data in healthy volunteers. Maximum plasma concentrations are seen 1-6 hours post-dose. A once-daily dosing regimen of mesalazine (1 × 4 g/d) and a twice-daily dosage (2 × 2 g/d) results in a comparable systemic exposure (AUC) over 24 hours and indicate a continuous release of mesalazine from the formulation over the treatment period. Steady-state is reached after a treatment period of 5 days following oral administration.
2 g BID
4 g OD
Molecular weight of mesalazine: 153.13 g/moL; Ac-mesalazine: 195.17 g/moL.
The transit and release of mesalazine after oral administration are independent of food co-administration, whereas the systemic exposure may be increased.
Mesalazine and acetyl mesalazine do not cross the blood-brain barrier. Protein binding of mesalazine is approximately 50% and of acetyl mesalazine about 80%.
Mesalazine is metabolised both pre-systemically by the intestinal mucosa and systemically in the liver to N-acetyl-mesalazine (acetyl-mesalazine) principally by NAT-1. Some acetylation also occurs through the action of colonic bacteria. The acetylation seems to be independent of the acetylator phenotype of the patient. The metabolic ratio of acetyl-mesalazine to mesalazine in plasma after oral administration ranges from 3.5 to 1.3 after daily doses of 500 mg×3 and 2 g×3, respectively, implying a dose-dependent acetylation which may be subject to saturation.
Due to continuous release of mesalazine throughout the gastrointestinal tract, the elimination half-life cannot be determined after oral administration. However, once the formulation is not present in the GI tract elimination will follow the plasma half-life of orally or IV administered uncoated mesalazine, which is approximately 40 minutes and for acetyl-mesalazine approximately 70 minutes.
Characteristics in patients:
Pathophysiological changes such as diarrhoea and increased bowel acidity observed during active inflammatory bowel disease have only a minor impact on the delivery of mesalazine to the intestinal mucosa after oral administration. A urine excretion 20 – 25% of the daily dose has been observed in patients with accelerated intestinal transit. Likewise, a corresponding increase in faecal excretion has been seen.
Toxic renal effects have been demonstrated in all species tested. Rat and monkey dosages and plasma concentrations at the No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs) exceed those used in humans by a factor of 2-7.2.
In vitro test systems and in-vivo studies showed no evidence of mutagenic effects. Studies on the tumourigenic potential carried out in rats showed no evidence of any substance-related increase in the incidence of tumours.
Animal studies on oral mesalazine do not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to fertility, pregnancy, embryo-foetal development, parturition or postnatal development.
Mesalazine is deemed not to pose a risk to the environment at the doses prescribed for use in patients
Do not store above 25°C.
Do not freeze.
Store in the original package to protect from light.
Blister: Double aluminium foil
Pack size: 100 Tablets (10 tablets per blister)
Any unused product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
30th March 2004
16th May 2023