Balsalazide: A novel 5-aminosalicylate prodrug for the treatment of active ulcerative colitis
5-Aminosalicylate (5-ASA) agents are the mainstay of oral therapy for ulcerative colitis (UC). Balsalazide, a prodrug of 5-ASA, has recently been approved for the treatment of UC. To summarize current data on balsalazide and to discuss its impact on management of UC. A systematic review of published literature was performed on PubMed using the search terms 'Balsalazide' and 'Colazal(TM)'. The Cochrane database was also reviewed. Balsalzide, a 5-ASA prodrug, ulilizes azoreduction by colonic bacteria to achieve a sustained release of active 5-ASA throughout the colon. A recent clinical trial has demonstrated balsalazide 6.7 g/day to be superior to placebo in inducing remission in symptomatic UC. The drug is well tolerated with a safety profile comparable to other oral 5-ASA agents. The current data suggests that symptomatic remission occurs with both greater swiftness and greater frequency when compared with mesalamine. Balsalazide is approved for the treatment of mild-to-moderate active UC. It is efficacious for the induction of remission in mild to moderate UC and has a favorable safety profile, with the added advantages of greater efficacy of remission induction and rapidity of onset.