5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) preparations (eg, mesalazine, mesalamine) are well-established preparations used in the management of inflammatory bowel disease. These drugs are most useful for the treatment of mild to moderate flares of ulcerative colitis and, especially, for maintenance of remission. Although most gastroenterologists are very familiar with these drugs, the interest in these drugs has undergone a resurgence, with new preparations offering convenience and high dosage, while preserving their customary safety. New dosage regimens are likely to become standard practice in the near future. There is also considerable interest in chemoprevention of colorectal cancer in the context of inflammatory bowel disease, and the role of long-term maintenance therapy with 5-ASAs in achieving such chemoprevention. A mechanism of action for such chemoprevention has been provided by the agonism of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma by 5-ASA, which unifies its efficacy as an anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive agent. In the future, even more effective agents based on 5-ASA are expected, based on more powerful agonism of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma; 5-ASA preparations have become ‘trendy’ again.