Sodium Cromoglycate (cromolyn Sodium)
Why is it prescribed?
Sodium cromoglycate is used on a continual basis for the prevention of the symptoms of asthma. It is also indicated for the prevention of bronchospasm associated with known causative factors (e.g. exercise, cold air, allergies, pollutants, etc.). Sodium cromoglycate, as a nasal spray, is used for prevention of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
See other drugs used in the treatment of •allergic rhinitis •allergies •asthma •exercise-induced bronchospasm •hay fever •rhinitis •runny nose •seasonal allergies •seasonal rhinitis •year-round allergies •
Along with its needed effects, sodium cromoglycate may cause some unwanted or undesirable effects. Generally, sodium cromoglycate is well tolerated and many people will not experience unwanted effects. The severity and duration of these effects are dependant on many factors including duration of therapy, dose, route of administration and individual response. Possible unwanted effects include:
- throat irritation or dryness (oral inhalation only)
- bad taste in mouth
- sneezing (nasal spray only)
- nasal irritation (nasal spray only)
- bronchospasm (oral inhalation only)
- rash or hives
- joint swelling and pain
Many of these unwanted effects, especially the most common ones, may disappear with continued use of the medication. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned or they become bothersome.
Sodium cromoglycate is a drug that blocks the release of inflammatory chemical messengers from specific cells in the body called mast cells. Upon inhaling particles (e.g. pollen, smoke, etc.) that irritate the lining of the breathing passages, a person's mast cells respond by releasing chemicals to protect the body. The chemicals cause an inflammatory process resulting in bronchoconstriction and swelling of the tissues lining the breathing passages causing an obstructed airflow. Sodium cromoglycate blocks the release of these mast cell chemicals and prevents the inflammatory process. Sodium cromoglycate is not a bronchodilator.
People using sodium cromoglycate inhalation for treatment of asthma must understand that this medication is not a bronchodilator and should not be used as a rescue medication in acute asthmatic episodes. Sodium cromoglycate will only work properly if it is taken on a regular basis. Sporadic use, or only using your medication when you are experiencing symptoms, will lead to poor symptom control.
Optimal effectiveness can be hampered if the delivery device is not used properly. Even if you have used a puffer or nasal spray before, you should have your technique reassessed by your pharmacist and read the patient instructions that are provided with the product.
Don't expect sodium cromoglycate to start working immediately when you initiate therapy. Improvement will generally occur within the first few weeks of starting the medication. An improvement may be noticed as either a decrease in your symptoms or less dependance on other medication that you are using to relieve symptoms.
Never stop using sodium cromoglycate abruptly, especially if your symptoms have been partially or completely controlled by the medication. Sudden withdrawal may result in a rapid return of symptoms. If discontinuing sodium cromoglycate, it is advised to gradually reduce your dose over the course of one week before stopping completely. If you must stop suddenly, consult you doctor or pharmacist.
Drug Interactions: Sodium cromoglycate does not appear to have any significant interactions with other medications. However, it is wise to tell your doctor and pharmacist about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking to ensure safety.
Use is not recommended in the following situations:
- allergy to sodium cromoglycate or any ingredient in the product
- certain types of pneumonia
Use in pregnancy: Considered compatible with pregnancy.
Use while breastfeeding: Although human data is limited, use is considered compatible with breastfeeding.