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Pentasa and anxiety / loss of appetite

I'm new to this forum. I'm a 26 year old male from Hawaii and was just diagnosed with Crohn's Disease two days ago. I've been suffering from chronic diarrhea for the past 5 years and finally went to a GI for a colonoscopy. Biopsies revealed that I have inflammation in the ileum. I was told that it's most likely a mild form right now. I was given samples of Pentasa 500mg pills, two pills at four times a day. I finished taking all 8 pills the first day and at night I felt like I was having an anxiety attack. I couldn't sleep and felt like I couldn't catch a breath. In the morning I still felt the same, but I thought it was all in my head. I took another two pills and the anxiety with loss of appetite continued. I called my GI who suggested I take half of the doseage, so four pills a day. I took another pill at night around 5pm and the anxiety with loss of appetite came back. I will be calling the doctor again soon, but I was wondering of there is another medicine I can take? An alternative to Pentasa? I'm really worried now about this condition and want something that works without these anxiety attacks.

Greatly appreciate any help
i,ve been on pentasa for a long time with no side effects at all and it is supposed to be the mildest treatment out there,is it possible you are just kinda stressed out after your diagnosis?


Loss of appetite is a report symptom. If it continues or gets more severe, contact your GI about possibly stopping the medication or switching to something else.

Anxiety and loss of breath, however, are also reported symptoms but ones that you should immediately report to your GI.

There are many other forms of 5-ASA you can take, so you aren't out of options. As far as medications go, 5-ASAs are pretty mild. So even if you have issues with other 5-ASAs, you still have other medications to turn to. :)
Axel and theOcean, thank you for the replies.

Axel: It possibly could be in my head and could be stressed from the medication. But I didn't feel these effects until 12+ hours after receiving my diagnosis.

theOcean: I was reading that mesalamine are sulfa based medications and that some people have the anxiety side effects with them. Are the other 5-ASA medications sulfa based too? I just had to force myself to eat breakfast since I haven't had anything to eat for the past 16 hours. It was a struggle to finish a small meal. I'm also now experiencing pain to my lower back too, not sure if it's connected. I called the GI earlier, still waiting for a call back.

Really appreciate the replies.


Lower back pain is something common to Crohn's, so I would suspect that first before I would suspect your medication.

I do feel like you're probably experiencing anxiety from the 5-ASA from what you've reported though. Are you still able to contact your doctor today? And are you on any other medications currently, like prednisone?
:) Good luck ChronieHI. I'm still new and I have had recurring anxiety for a good while now. I hope things get better for you. These are smart people on here, so you are in the right place.
After taking the one pill today, I haven't taken another one yet. I did receive a call back from my GI and suggested I discontinue taking the Pentasa. She also wants me to take a blood test next week to confirm if I do have Crohn's or not. If it shows I do in fact have it, she will give me something else to take. I guess I'll be controlling my symptoms with Imodium for now.

I do feel a lot better though now that time has passed since taking Pentasa this morning. Able to eat again hah.


That's frustrating. :( You can also take zantac or an anti-emetic before taking the Pentasa, and see if that helps with the nausea/appetite issues?

I'm glad to hear you got in contact with your GI, though. So if you do continue to get reactions you can at least stop and know it's with their approval.
I have a follow-up appointment with the GI in two weeks so I will try asking about Xanax. Should have my blood work back too, so crossing fingers.

What I don't quite understand is if the biopsy during the colonoscopy came back as Crohn's, then wouldn't the blood work show that also? Kinda confused on that part.


No, zantac, not xanax. Zantac/ranitidine is an anti-emetic; xanax is an anti-anxiety medication. :p

I would think so too. I also found it strange that you mentioned they were waiting on a blood test to confirm. Usually it's that they do a blood test and then do a colonoscopy to confirm.
Right after my diagnosis I took a blood test for CRP and sed. rate. She later told me my blood work came back looking good. I should probably ask these things when I see her again.
So an update:

My blood work did come back positive so it is confirmed that I have Crohn's.

I was taken off of Pentasa, but the GI wants me to try Rowasa now. I hope that Rowasa doesn't give me the same side effects, even though they are both 5-ASA.

I'll be starting the Rowasa on June 2nd.