Taking Colazal (Balsalazide Disodium) for Ulcerative Colitis

Colazal (balsalazide disodium) is used to treat mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis. It is approved for use in patients over the age of 5 years. Colazal is an anti-inflammatory medication that is released in the large intestine, where the drug works topically to decrease the inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis.

Colazal is a derivative of 5-aminosalicyclic-acid (5-ASA), which is a class of drug that has been used to treat ulcerative colitis for many years. There are some people that are allergic to this class of medication, so it is important to tell all healthcare providers of any allergies to 5-ASA drugs. Colazal is a next-generation of the 5-ASA drugs and is designed to be released directly in the colon, where it needs to do the work to reduce inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis.

Most side effects from Colazal are mild and include headache and nausea. More serious side effects are rare, but among them is included bloody urine or stool and dizziness. When taking Colazal, contact a doctor with any questions about side effects or to report any new or unusual symptoms that began after starting this drug.

Colazal is a yellow/orange substance and it may cause body fluids (such as urine and stool) to be yellow or orange. This can lead to stains on clothing, fabrics, and other materials if they come into contact with body fluids or with the drug if it is removed from the capsule.

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Ulcerative colitis

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How Colazal Is Taken

Colazal is normally taken by adults in doses of three capsules three times per day, with or without food. The drug was approved for use in kids aged 5 to 17 years after being studied in a small group of children; the two doses studied were one capsule three times a day and three capsules three times a day. Colazal is proven safe if taken for 8 weeks (kids) or 12 weeks (adults).

If capsules can not be swallowed, they may be opened and the contents sprinkled on applesauce. The applesauce should be eaten right away after mixing in the drug. If Colazal is taken in this way, it may cause a stain on the teeth or on the tongue.


Colazal is prescribed for treating inflammation in the colon that is associated with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. The majority of the medication is released in the colon, where it can reduce the inflammation.

Missed Doses

If a dose is missed, take it as soon as it is remembered. If the next dose should be taken soon, just take that dose. Don't double up or take more than one dose at a time.

Who Should Not Take Colazal

Colazal is not recommended for people who have an allergy to aspirin or aspirin-like products. Colazal has not been studied for use in children under the age of 5 years.

Tell a doctor about a history of any of the following conditions:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Pyloric stenosis

Side Effects

Serious, but rare, side effects of Colazal include bloody urine, dizziness, and rectal bleeding. More common adverse effects that are usually considered minor can including nausea, diarrhea, or headache.

Colazal is not known to cause any sexual side effects in either men or women.

Medication Interactions

Colazal has not been studied for interactions with other medications. It is thought that antibiotics may cause Colazal to be less effective.

Food Interactions

There are no known food interactions with Colazal.

Safety During Pregnancy

The FDA has classified Colazal as a type B drug. The effect that Colazal has on an unborn child has not been studied extensively. Colazal should only be used during pregnancy if clearly needed. Notify the prescribing doctor if you become pregnant while taking Colazal. It is not known if Colazal could pass into breast milk and affect a nursing infant.

How Long Colazal Can Be Taken

The safety and efficacy of Colazal after 12 weeks in adults and 8 weeks in children (under the age of 17) are unknown.

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By Amber J. Tresca
Amber J. Tresca is a freelance writer and speaker who covers digestive conditions, including IBD. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 16.