Olsalazine (Dipentum - Pharmacia) is a new drug for the treatment of mild acute ulcerative colitis and maintenance of remission. Like enteric-coated (Asacol - SK&F) and sustained-release (Pentasa - Nordic) preparations of mesalazine, it offers an alternative to sulphasalazine. These newer drugs deliver 5-amino salicylic acid (5-ASA, mesalazine), the component of sulphasalazine active in ulcerative colitis, to its site of action in the colon, without the unwanted effects of the carrier molecule, sulphapyridine. How useful is this theoretical advantage in practice?
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