Lialda side effects and how to avoid them

Lialda is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved brand-name medication manufactured by Shire US Inc., used to treat ulcerative colitis. While Lialda is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Lialda include abdominal pain. Less common but more serious side effects can include kidney and liver problems.

Learn more about the side effects of Lialda and what you can do to avoid them.

What is Lialda (mesalamine)?

Lialda is a medicine prescribed to adults with a bowel disease called ulcerative colitis. It’s used to eliminate symptoms (remission), and to stop symptoms from coming back (maintenance of remission). Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease that affects your bowels (your colon and your large intestine). It causes the lining of your bowels to become inflamed, disrupting how they work and causing damage. Small tears may develop that can bleed and form ulcers.

This inflammation and damage cause symptoms like abdominal (stomach) pain, feeling sick, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, and anemia. These can affect your quality of life, particularly if the symptoms become severe. Over time, ulcerative colitis can lead to inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) and even colon cancer.

There’s no cure for ulcerative colitis, but you can manage the disease with medication like Lialda. Lialda comes as a tablet that you swallow. It reduces inflammation in your bowels, helping to eliminate symptoms and stopping them from coming back.

Lialda active ingredients

The active ingredient in Lialda is called mesalamine. It helps to reduce inflammation in your body. Mesalazine works by blocking enzymes in your bowels, called cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. These enzymes produce a natural chemical called prostaglandin that triggers inflammation. By stopping these enzymes from working, less prostaglandin is produced, and less inflammation is triggered.

Lialda dosage

Lialda is available in tablet form containing 1.2g of mesalamine. The standard recommended dose of Lialda is typically two to four 1.2 g tablets once daily with food for up to 8 weeks.

You are advised to read the medication guide provided with this medicine for the drug information and patient information, and always speak with your healthcare provider for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.

What happens when you stop using Lialda?

Stopping treatment with Lialda does not cause side effects. However, symptoms of ulcerative colitis may become worse.

Is Lialda safe for long-term use?

Lialda can be taken long-term. Your doctor will, however, check to see how well your kidneys are working during treatment.

When is the best time to take Lialda?

Lialda should be taken with food once daily for up to 8 weeks.

Lialda side effects

The most common possible side effects of Lialda include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal side effects – stomach pain, flatulence, colitis, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, rectal polyp
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Flu-like symptoms such as rhinitis, colds, and sore throat
  • Abnormal results from liver tests (that will show up in blood tests)

Lialda can cause more serious side effects, including:

  • Severe allergic reactions to the medication – swelling, trouble breathing, or chest pain
  • Mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome that may be hard to distinguish from a severe ulcerative colitis flare-up
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome – blistering and peeling of the skin
  • Abdominal pain, cramping, bloody diarrhea
  • Kidney problems, including inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis), kidney failure and kidney stones
  • Liver problems, including inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) and liver failure. Symptoms include loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, easy bruising or bleeding, jaundice, dark urine, clay-colored stools
  • Pancreatitis
  • Rises in blood pressure
  • Cardiac disorders such as pericarditis and myocarditis

If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Lialda and seek medical attention immediately.

You are encouraged to report the negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Does Lialda cause hair loss?

Hair loss is not a common side effect of Lialda. Be aware that ulcerative colitis, a condition for which you may be taking Lialda, can also cause hair loss.

Does Lialda cause weight gain?

Weight gain is not a side effect of taking Lialda. Weight gain and weight loss are, however, symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

Does Lialda cause fatigue?

Long-term use of Lialda may cause kidney problems, symptoms of which include fatigue and low energy.

Does Lialda affect the kidneys?

Lialda may cause inflammation of the kidneys with long-term use. Your doctor will monitor you for this side effect while taking Lialda.

How long do Lialda side effects last?

Most side effects of Lialda will last a few days or weeks. Side effects such as liver or kidney problems may last longer. Speak to your doctor for medical advice if you experience these long-term side effects.

Lialda drug interactions

Lialda can interact with other medications, including:

  • Azathioprine, taken to treat various immune system disorders
  • Antacids, taken to reduce stomach acidity and reduce heartburn, like Tums, Nexium, or Prilosec
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen or naproxen

Before taking Lialda, be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking to ensure they are safe to take at the same time.

Lialda warnings & precautions

Don’t take Lialda if:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient mesalamine, aspirin, sulfasalazine, or salicylates
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Lialda
  • Are allergic to any salicylates or aminosalicylates, like aspirin
  • Are under 18 years of age

Talk to your doctor before taking Lialda if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Lialda
  • Have a skin condition such as eczema.
  • Have, or have had kidney disease
  • Have, or have had any liver problems or liver disease
  • Have, or have had, a blockage in your digestive tract
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
  • Are over 65 years of age

You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Lialda, to ensure it is safe.

How to avoid Lialda side effects

The best way to avoid side effects is to take Lialda as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and do not take more or less than prescribed.

If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.

1. Stick to the recommended dosage

Take your prescribed dose of Lialda as recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.

2. Monitor your blood sugar levels

If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Lialda. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.

3. Drink plenty of fluids

Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can make side effects worse.

4. Avoid alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Lialda as it can increase your risk of symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

5. Don’t skip meals

Eating regular meals and snacks will help to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

6. Check your feet

If you have diabetes, check your feet for any cuts, sores, or redness regularly. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your feet while taking Lialda.

7. Know the signs and symptoms of Lialda side effects

Signs and symptoms of side effects include stomach pains and flatulence. If you experience these symptoms, speak to your doctor for medical advice.

8. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking

Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Lialda.

9. Get regular medical checkups

It is important to get regular medical checkups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your side effects and may adjust your dose of Lialda as needed.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

Share this page

Other articles on

Sources (3)

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.