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Home / Drugs / Starting with B / Balsalazide

Balsalazide is an anti-inflammatory drug used in the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It is sold under the name "Colazal" in the US and "Colazide" in the UK. The chemical name is (E)-5-[[-4-(2-carboxyethyl) aminocarbonyl] phenyl]azo] -2-hydroxybenzoic acid. It is usually administered as the disodium salt. Balsalazide releases mesalazine, also known as 5-aminosalicylic acid, or 5-ASA, in the large intestine. Its advantage over that drug in the treatment of Ulcerative colitis is believed to be the delivery of the active agent past the small intestine to the large intestine, the active site of ulcerative colitis.
CategoriesAnti-Ulcer Agents
Gastrointestinal Agents
ManufacturersApotex inc etobicoke site
Mylan pharmaceuticals inc
Roxane laboratories inc
Salix pharmaceuticals inc
PackagersApotex Inc.
Murfreesboro Pharmaceutical Nursing Supply
Physicians Total Care Inc.
Resource Optimization and Innovation LLC
Roxane Labs
Salix Pharmaceuticals
SynonymsBalsalazida [Spanish]
Balsalazide disodium
Balsalazido [Spanish]
Balsalazidum [Latin]


For the treatment of mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis.


Balsalazide is a prodrug that has little or no pharmacologic activity until it is enzymatically cleaved in the colon to produce mesalamine (5-aminosalicylic acid), an anti inflammatory drug indicated for the treatment of mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis. Balsalazide disodium is delivered intact to the colon where it is cleaved by bacterial azoreduction to release equimolar quantities of mesalamine, which is the therapeutically active portion of the molecule, and the intert 4-aminobenzoyl-(beta)-alanine. As a result, the spectrum of pharmacologic activity of balsalazide is similar to that of mesalamine.

mechanism of action

The mechanism of action of 5-aminosalicylic acid is unknown, but appears exert its anti-inflammatory effects locally (in the GI tract) rather than systemically. Mucosal production of arachidonic acid metabolites, both through the cyclooxygenase pathways (catalyzes the formation of prostaglandin precursors from arachidonic acid), and through the lipoxygenase pathways (catalyzes the formation of leukotrienes and hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids from arachidonic acid and its metabolites), is increased in patients with chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, it is possible that 5-aminosalicylic acid diminishes inflammation by blocking production of arachidonic acid metabolites in the colon through both the inhibition of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase.


A single oral dose of balsalazide disodium at 5 grams/kg or 4-aminobenzoyl-(beta)-alanine, a metabolite of balsalazide disodium, at 1 gram/kg was non-lethal in mice and rats. No symptoms of acute toxicity were seen at these doses.


Cleaved in the colon via bacterial azoreduction to 5–aminosalicylic acid (5–ASA) and 4–aminobenzoyl-beta-alanine, the inactive carrier moiety.


Low and variable, intact balsalazide is poorly absorbed systemically.

half life

Half-life could not be determined.

route of elimination

The products of the azoreduction of this compound, 5-ASA and 4-aminobenzoyl-ß-alanine, and their N-acetylated metabolites have been identified in plasma, urine and feces. Following single-dose administration of 2.25 g COLAZAL (three 750 mg capsules) under fasting conditions in healthy subjects, mean urinary recovery of balsalazide, 5-ASA, and N-Ac-5-ASA was 0.20%, 0.22% and 10.2%, respectively.