Aminosalicylates act on epithelial cells via a variety of mechanisms to moderate the release of lipid mediators, cytokines and reactive oxygen species. These drugs are available as oral tablets, sachets or suspension, liquid or foam enemas, or suppositories. Different formulations deliver millimolar concentrations to the gut lumen. Oral forms include:

- pH dependent release/resin coated mesalazine;

- time controlled release mesalazine;

- Delivery by carrier molecules, releasing 5-ASA after splitting by bacterial enzymes in the large intestine (sulfasalazine, olsalazine, balsalazide).

Mesalazine has been recommended both for inducing and for maintaining remission.

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