Ipocol MR (Mesalazine)

How does it work?

Ipocol MR tablets contain the active ingredient mesalazine, which is a type of medicine called an aminosalicylate. It is used to reduce inflammation in the intestines in a condition called ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative colitis is a condition in which there is inflammation of the large intestine. This results in ulceration and bleeding in the intestine and causes symptoms that include abdominal pain and diarrhoea that is mixed with blood, pus and mucus.

Mesalazine works by reducing the inflammation in the intestine, which in turn reduces the symptoms of the disease. The way in which mesalazine does this is not fully understood.

Ipocol MR tablets have a special 'enteric coating' that allows the medicine to pass through the stomach and be released in the intestine where it is needed. They are used for the short-term treatment of symptoms and can also be taken on a continuous basis to control the inflammation in the intestine and help prevent attacks.

What is it used for?

  • Ulcerative colitis.

The tablets are used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of ulcerative colitis. They can also be used continuously to help prevent attacks.

How do I take it?

  • Ipocol MR tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. They must not be broken, crushed or chewed, as this would damage the special coating of the tablets that allows them to work in the intestine. The tablets can be taken either with or without food.
  • The dose prescribed will vary from person to person. It is important to follow the instructions given by your doctor. These will also be printed on the dispensing label that your pharmacist has put on the packet of medicine.
  • If you forget to take a dose take it as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time for your next dose. In this case skip the missed dose and take your next scheduled dose as normal. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.


  • Your kidney and liver function should be checked before you start treatment with this medicine. Your kidney function should then be monitored every three months for the first year of treatment and at least once a year thereafter, or as your doctor feels necessary.
  • This medicine may rarely cause a decrease in the normal amounts of blood cells in the blood. For this reason you should consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms while using this medicine: unexplained bruising or bleeding, purple spots, sore throat, mouth ulcers, high temperature (fever), feeling tired or general illness. Your doctor may want to take a blood test to check your blood cells.
  • There are several different brands and forms of mesalazine available in the UK (see end of factsheet). The way that the mesalazine is released from these different products varies and allows the mesalazine to be released in specific areas of the intestine. You will be prescribed the brand that allows the mesalazine to be released in the part of your intestine that needs it most. For this reason, it is important that you always use the same brand of mesalazine. You should make sure you know which brand you normally have and check that you have been given the correct one each time your medicine is dispensed. (Your pharmacist will usually ask you, or call your doctor if this is not written on your prescription).

Use with caution in

  • Elderly people.
  • Decreased kidney function.
  • Decreased liver function.
  • Asthma.
  • People who are allergic to a related medicine called sulfasalazine.

Not to be used in

  • People who are allergic to salicylates (eg aspirin).
  • People with blood disorders.
  • Severely decreased kidney function.
  • Severely decreased liver function.
  • This medicine is not recommended for children under six years of age.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.

If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been fully established. It should be used with caution during pregnancy, and only if the expected benefit to the mother is greater than any possible risk to the developing baby. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
  • This medicine passes into breast milk in small amounts. It should be used with caution in breastfeeding mothers and only if the benefits to the mother outweigh any risks to the nursing infant. If a nursing infant develops diarrhoea while the mother is using this medicine it is recommended that either the medicine or the breastfeeding is stopped. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.

Label warnings

  • This medication is to be swallowed whole, not chewed.
  • Do not take indigestion remedies at the same time as this medicine.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect. The more serious side effects listed here occur rarely.

  • Diarrhoea.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain or bloating.
  • Excess gas in the stomach and intestines (flatulence).
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Inflammation around the heart. Tell your doctor if you experience chest pains or palpitations.
  • Decrease in the normal numbers of blood cells in the blood - see the warning section above for symptoms to look out for.
  • Allergic skin rashes.
  • Worsening of colitis symptoms.
  • Pain in the muscles or joints.
  • Hair loss.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).
  • Kidney problems, such as inflammation of the kidneys or kidney failure.
  • Lung problems, such as shortness of breath, cough or breathing difficulties.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.

For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.

You should not take indigestion remedies (antacids) at the same time of day as Ipocol MR tablets. This is because the tablets have a special coating that lets them pass through the stomach and into the intestine, where the medicine is needed. Indigestion remedies reduce the acidity in the stomach, allowing the tablets to dissolve there rather than letting them reach the intestine.

If lactulose or other medicines that change the acidity of stools are taken with Ipocol MR tablets, they may prevent the mesalazine from being released from the tablets in the large intestine, and so could make them less effective.

There may be an increased risk of side effects on the blood cells if mesalazine is used in combination with azathioprine or mercaptopurine.

There may be an increased risk of side effects on the kidneys if mesalazine is used in combination with other medicines that can affect kidney function, for example non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

Asacol Mezavant XL Octasa MR
Pentasa Salofalk