Cromolyn Sodium for Allergic Rhinitis
Cromolyn Sodium for Allergic Rhinitis
How It Works
Cromolyn sodium is a type of medicine called a mast cell stabilizer. When mast cells (a cell of the immune system ) in the nose come in contact with an allergen , they release histamine, which causes the symptoms of allergic rhinitis . Cromolyn sodium and other mast cell stabilizers prevent the mast cells from releasing histamine, which reduces some of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Cromolyn is prescribed in an inhaled form, so that you can breathe the medicine into your mouth (using an inhaler ) or into your nose (using a nasal inhaler).
Nasally inhaled forms of cromolyn sodium are also available as an over-the-counter medicine.
Why It Is Used
You can use cromolyn sodium to prevent and reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis, such as sneezing, nasal discharge, nasal congestion, and eye irritation. It is safe for children and pregnant women to use.
How Well It Works
Cromolyn sodium reduces sneezing, nasal discharge, nasal congestion, and eye irritation. Cromolyn sodium:
- Is not as effective as nasal corticosteroids for more severe symptoms.
- May not work as well if you have nasal polyps or other defects that could block the spray from reaching the lining of your nose and sinuses.
It may take 1 to 4 weeks before cromolyn sodium is fully effective. Because of this, cromolyn sodium is considered more useful in preventing allergy symptoms. It is not as effective as other medicines at treating symptoms after they have already started.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
- Trouble breathing.
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor if you have:
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Low blood pressure
- Itching of skin
Common side effects of this medicine include:
- Throat irritation or dryness
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
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