rowasa causing a flare?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 8/26/2007 11:35 PM (GMT -6) I was tapering from steroids and things were going well, but i've had problems in the past tapering, and so my doc gave me a prescription of rowasa to have around just in case. normally I'm on colazal, and have never taken rowasa or any enemas before. When I got back down to about 5mg of pred a day I was starting to feel some of the effects of colitis creep back in...nothing terrible, just a little softness in the BMs and very mild urgency. I figured what-the-heck, I might as well try the rowasa....

well, after about 4 days it felt like all the colitis effects had RUSHED back--urgency, loose, unformed BMs, cramps, pain, nausea.... I decided to skip a night of rowasa (last night) and see what would happen. today I had mild urgency in the morning...but otherwise I've felt MUCH better. some symptoms are still there. though much milder..and there's absolutely no cramps or pain.

anyway...has rowasa, or high doses of mesamaline triggered colitis-like symptoms in anyone else? Is there a ramp up time that I should suspect for rowasa and those effects go away? Should I continue to NOT take it until I can talk to my doc, or should I take it and feel sick till then?

Elite Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 30828
   Posted 8/27/2007 2:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi...yes, for some it can cause symptoms, but you also tapered the pred at the same time.

Are you still taking the Colazal?

Try using it every second night...that might be enough to help lessen the symptoms, help inflammation and still aid in the tapering of the pred.

When did you get the the morning or during the night? Were you able to retain all night?

*Heather*Status:mini flare June 23* 6asacol daily+ Salofalk (tapered every 3rd night)
~diagnosed January 1989 UC (proctosigmoiditis)
~5ASA: Asacol + Salofalk enemas (increase for flares tapered to maintenance)
~Bentylol (dicyclomine) 20mg as needed
~Probiotic 2 (Natural Factors Protec) + 1 (Primadophilus Reuteri) at bedtime
~Natural Factors Multi Digestive Enzymes with supper
~Ranitidine,Pariet (reflux) Effexor XR 75mg;  Pulmicort/Airomir (asthma)
~URSO for PSC (or PBC) 500mg X 2 daily (LFTs back to NORMAL!!)
My doc's logic.. "TREAT (FROM)BOTH ENDS"  worth it !!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 8/27/2007 11:59 AM (GMT -6)   
yep, i retained it all night each time. I administered the rowasa and didn't 'expell' anything until the next morning. I would get cramps throughout the day--but mostly in the morning. by nighttime i usually felt ok again.

and yup, im still on colazal too..

And while, yes, I was technically tapering pred, I actually was between 'steps' and on a steady pred dose. for me, the effects of a pred dose drop only really hit the day after, and then level off--then, once a week or two had passed, I drop off again. I was near the end of that second week, about to drop again, when this stuff happened--so that's about as small a factor as it could be, i imagine.

i mean..the contrast was pretty sharp--the first day after i took rowasa i was feeling bloated and 'icky'. the second day after I felt a bit cramped, in pain, was a pretty stark, and sharp, decline.

I didn't take it last night either--and now i feel great! no colitis symptoms all day, so far... what the heck is going on with me?

anyway, thanks for your thoughts--if the doc suggests i keep on it, i might bring up the 'skip a day' thing

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5187
   Posted 8/27/2007 4:06 PM (GMT -6)   
ROWASA has sulfites in it as a preservative. This can cause allergic reactions in susceptible patients. Maybe that's what caused your "regression" to more symptoms you associate with flaring UC. / Old Hat (nearly 30 yrs with left-sided UC; currently on 3 X 3 Colazal for July flare in descending colon, which is responding)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 8/27/2007 6:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Old Hat, by sulfites do you mean sulfa? (I'm allergic to sulfa which could explain what I mentioned below)

I too can't do Rowasa because it makes my symptoms 10xs worse and not to mention it makes me feel like I have the flu. I tried numerous times and each time it made me feel horrible. So both me and the GI came to the conclusion that I was in the small percentile that can't tolerate them.
Left sided Uc since '92 - meds - Colazal, Canasa (when needed), 6MP (50-75mgs), Forvia, Biotin (IN REMISSION - sort of!)
Secondary Raynauds Syndrome '04  - meds - Norvasc
Fibromyalgia '06 - no meds
Severe seasonal allergies - meds - Allegra 
@--->--Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC--<---@


Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5187
   Posted 8/28/2007 9:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Red_34: sulfites are preservatives distilled from sulfurous acid. The FDA banned their use on fresh produce in 1986 because they can induce severe allergic reactions. However, they are still used on some dried items such as raisins, apricots, & prunes. Why ROWASA's manufacturers decided to use them beats me! Sulfa is sulfanilamide, a pharmaceutical drug that combats bacterial infections such as those that stem from serious burns. It is also used as a bonding agent in the earliest 5-ASA drugs, generic sulfasalazine. It is not the most tolerable med to ingest, either-- so a lot of IBD patients had problems taking Azulfidine (yours truly) & do better since Asacol & then Colazal came on the market. / Old Hat (nearly 30 yrs with left-sided UC; currently on 3 X 3 Colazal daily for July flare in descending colon, which is responding)
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