About Pentasa

Using Pentasa Enemas to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Pentasa enemas are a prescription medicine that treat Ulcerative Colitis in the last part of the large bowel, known as Distal Ulcerative Colitis (left sided colitis).

Pentasa enemas contain mesalazine (also known as 5-aminosalicylic acid or 5-ASA), that work by coming into direct contact with the inflamed tissue in the large bowel, treating the inflammation.

How to use Pentasa Enemas

Pentasa Enemas are a way of administering some medicines via the rectum. 

If possible, go to the toilet and empty your bowels before using an enema.  The Pentasa enema will work better if the bowel has been emptied. 

Pentasa enemas are normally used at bedtime.

You may want to use a protective covering over the area where you will be lying down to administer the enema as it could stain some surfaces.

If necessary, a water-soluble lubricant, such as KY jelly, can be applied to the tip of the enema bottle to help with insertion. 

Administer the Pentasa enema as follows

Immediately before use take the enema bottle out of the aluminium foil pack and shake it well.

Hold the enema in one hand with the nozzle tip pointing towards you and apply slight pressure. With the other hand, break the seal of the bottle by twisting the nozzle one full turn (360 degrees). The nozzle should be pointing in the same direction as it was before turning.

Put your hand in one of the plastic disposal bags provided.

Hold the container in your right hand as shown in the picture, with the nozzle tip pointing towards you, and your fingers wrapped around the wavy edge.

To administer the enema, lie on your left side with the left leg straight and the right leg bent forward for balance. Carefully insert the applicator tip into the rectum. Insertion may be easier if you bear down as if having a bowel movement. Gently squeeze the enema out of the bottle. Maintain sufficient constant hand pressure while squeezing the bottle to empty the contents in less than 30 to 40 seconds. Once the bottle is empty, withdraw the tip with the bottle still compressed.

The enema liquid should be retained in the bowel. Remain relaxed in the administration position for 5-10 minutes or until the urge to pass the enema liquid has disappeared.

Roll the plastic disposal bag over the empty bottle. Discard it and wash your hands.

It is important to know that when your disease is active and at its worst, it may be difficult to retain the full 100mL enema.  Even if you retain a small portion of the Pentasa enema, do not be discouraged, it is a step in the right direction. 

Follow all directions given to you by your Doctor or Pharmacist carefully.

If you do not understand the instructions on the packaging, ask your Doctor or Pharmacist for help.

Further information about Pentasa Enemas

For further information about this medicine please refer to the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI).  The CMI contains information about what your medicine is, what it treats and how you should take it.  It also provides information on possible side effects and what you should do if you experience any of them.  Your Doctor and Pharmacist can provide the CMI to you or you can access it on the Medsafe website, www.medsafe.govt.nz.

If you continue to have problems retaining the enema or if administering the enema becomes painful, please contact your Doctor or Pharmacist for advice. 

Questions and Answers

  • Your Doctor will weigh up the risks and benefits, and assess the suitability of Pentasa, before prescribing for you.

    If you have any questions about taking Pentasa ask your Doctor or Pharmacist.

  • Unwanted side effects can occur with any medicine. Contact your Doctor if you experience any side effects when taking Pentasa.

  • Keep your Pentasa enema in the packaging until it is time to take your next dose. If you take Pentasa enema out of the packaging it may not keep well. Keep your Pentasa enemas in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C.

    Refer to the CMI for further information.


  • NZ Datasheet
  • Pentasa Enema CMI
  • Pentasa Enema Pack Insert