What is Rowasa?

Rowasa (mesalamine) is an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Rowasa works by reducing inflammation in the intestine.

Rowasa is available in generic form.


Health Benefits

Ulcerative colitis is a condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the large intestine and rectum. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Both conditions can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue.

Rowasa can help to reduce the symptoms of these conditions by reducing inflammation in the intestine. In addition, Rowasa may help to prevent the relapse of ulcerative colitis after remission has been achieved.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Rowasa include:



stomach pain




runny or stuffy nose

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects have also been reported with Rowasa. These include:

allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue);

bloody stools;

severe stomach pain;

black, tarry stools;

vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

weight loss;

shortness of breath; and

vision changes.

If you experience any of these side effects, call your doctor immediately.

Rowasa can also cause other less common side effects. Talk to your doctor if you experience any unusual or bothersome side effect.


The recommended adult dosage of Rowasa enemas is 4 grams (64 mL) inserted into the rectum once daily at bedtime for up to 8 weeks. The recommended adult dosage of Rowasa suppositories is 2 grams (32 mL) inserted into the rectum once daily at bedtime for up to 8 weeks.

Rowasa enemas and suppositories should be used with caution in children younger than 18 years old. Safety and effectiveness have not been established in this age group.

Rowasa enemas and suppositories are not for use in children younger than 2 years old.


Rowasa may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

acetaminophen (Tylenol);

cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);

insulin or oral diabetes medications;

methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall); or

steroids (prednisone).

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Rowasa, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of action of Rowasa is not completely understood. Rowasa is thought to work by inhibiting the synthesis and release of inflammatory mediators from immune cells in the intestine. In addition, Rowasa may have direct effects on the intestinal lining to reduce inflammation.


Rowasa is rapidly absorbed from the rectum after administration of an enema or suppository. The peak concentration of Rowasa in the blood occurs within 1 to 3 hours after administration. Rowasa is eliminated from the body primarily in the feces. Less than 2% of an administered dose is excreted in the urine.

The half-life of Rowasa is approximately 8 hours.

Special Populations

No special population pharmacokinetic studies have been conducted with Rowasa.

Pregnancy and Lactation

Rowasa is classified as Pregnancy Category B. Animal studies have shown no adverse effects on the fetus, but there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Rowasa should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

It is not known if Rowasa is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when Rowasa is administered to a nursing woman.

Alternatives to Rowasa

There are no known alternatives to Rowasa.

Please note that this content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Rowasa website.