Background: Two major types of 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA)-containing preparations, namely, mesalazine/5-ASA and sulfasalazine (SASP), are currently used as first-line therapy for ulcerative colitis. Recent reports show that optimization of 5-ASA therapy is beneficial for both patient outcomes and healthcare costs. Although 5-ASA and SASP have good efficacy and safety profiles, clinicians occasionally encounter patients who develop 5-ASA intolerance. Summary: The most common symptoms of acute 5-ASA intolerance syndrome are exacerbation of diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Patients who discontinue 5-ASA therapy because of intolerance have a higher risk of adverse clinical outcomes, such as hospital admission, colectomy, need for advanced therapies, and loss of response to anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) biologics. When patients develop symptoms of 5-ASA intolerance, the clinician should consider changing the type of 5-ASA preparation. Recent genome-wide association studies and meta-analyses have shown that 5-ASA allergy is associated with certain single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Although there are no modalities or biomarkers for diagnosing 5-ASA intolerance, the drug-induced lymphocyte stimulation test can be used to assist in the diagnosis of acute 5-ASA intolerance syndrome with high specificity and low sensitivity. This review presents a general overview of 5-ASA and SASP in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and discusses the latest insights into 5-ASA intolerance. Key Messages: 5-ASA is used as first-line therapy for ulcerative colitis. Optimization of 5-ASA may be beneficial for patient outcomes and healthcare systems. Acute 5-ASA intolerance syndrome is characterized by diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Periodic renal function monitoring is recommended for patients receiving 5-ASA.
- 5-Aminosalicylic acid
- 5-Aminosalicylic acid intolerance
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcerative colitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas