Delzicol vs. Asacol
Although Delzicol and Asacol contain the same active ingredient (mesalamine), there are some differences between these two medications. For example, Asacol came in tablet form; Delzicol comes in capsule form. It is not quite clear why the manufacturer of these medications took Asacol off the market and replaced it with Delzicol.
What Is the Difference Between Delzicol and Asacol?
Delzicol® and Asacol® are both medications that contain the active ingredient mesalamine. Delzicol 400 mg capsules are a replacement for Asacol 400 mg tablets, which are no longer manufactured. While the two medications are very similar, there are some important differences between the drugs.
It should be noted that Asacol HD (800 mg) tablets are still available.
Delzicol vs. Asacol: Similarities
Both drugs are made by Warner Chilcott. Both are used to treat ulcerative colitis. Both contain 400 mg of mesalamine in a delayed-release dosage form. They are expected to have the same side effects, effectiveness, and drug interactions.
Delzicol vs. Asacol: Differences
Delzicol comes in a capsule. Asacol came in tablet form. If you open a Delzicol capsule (which you should not do, according to the manufacturer's instructions), you will find a tablet that looks very much like an Asacol tablet. However, the tablet inside Delzicol is not the same as an Asacol tablet, as they have different inactive ingredients.
In addition, the prescribing information for Delzicol recommends that the drug be taken at least one hour before or two hours after a meal. No such recommendations were made for Asacol. It is unclear why the manufacturer recommends this, as the prescribing information clearly states that the effect of food on absorption of mesalamine from the capsule has not yet been studied.
Why the Switch?
It has been suggested that Warner Chilcott replaced Asacol with Delzicol because the Asacol tablets contained dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a substance which the FDA recommends removing from human drug products. Delzicol does not contain DBP. However, this reasoning seems a bit unlikely, because Asacol HD tablets (which contain DBP) were left on the market.
Others have suggested that this was a ploy to extend the patent life for the drug, which will run out in July 2013. However, this is probably not the case, as it does not appear that the manufacturer was given any additional patent protection time for the new product (for which the patent also expires in July 2013). The manufacturer's Web site suggests that the switch was made because many people find capsules easier to swallow compared to tablets. At this time, the exact reasons for the switch are unclear.