cromolyn, Nasalcrom (Discontinued), Intal; Opticrom; Gastrocrom

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GENERIC NAME: cromolyn

BRAND NAME: Nasalcrom (Discontinued), Intal, Opticrom, Gastrocrom

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Cromolyn is a synthetic compound that is used to prevent allergic reactions and bronchospasms (narrowing of airways) that cause asthma. Many of the symptoms and signs of allergic reactions are caused by chemicals such as histamine that are released from mast cells, a type of cell that is found throughout the body as well as in the lungs, nose, and eyelids. Cromolyn works by preventing the release of these chemicals from mast cells. Cromolyn is inhaled to prevent episodes of asthma. It also is used as a nasal inhaler to treat seasonal allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the lining of the nose, hay fever), as an ophthalmic (eye) solution to treat allergic conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelids), and as oral concentrate for mastocytosis (too many mast cells). Cromolyn was approved by the FDA in 1973. The oral concentrate was approved in 1996, and in 1997 the FDA approved over-the- counter status for the nasal solution.

PRESCRIPTION: No (nasal solution). Yes (other forms)


PREPARATIONS: Intranasal Spray: 5.2 mg/spray; Nebulized Solution: 10 mg/ml: Opthalmic Solution: 4% (1.6 mg/drop); Oral Concentrate: 100 mg/5 ml.

STORAGE: Cromolyn should be kept at room temperature, 20-25 C (68-77 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Cromolyn inhaled via nebulizer is used for treating chronic asthma and exercise induced asthma. Cromolyn nasal spray is used for controlling symptoms of allergic rhinitis, a condition in which the lining of the nose swells with fluid ("stuffy nose") and fluid is released into the nasal passages ("runny nose"). In conjunctivitis, cromolyn eye solution controls swelling, tearing, itching, and redness of the eye. The oral solution is used for treating excessive production of mast cells throughout the body.

DOSING: Cromolyn nebulized solution: 20 mg inhaled via nebulizer 2 or 4 times daily. Intranasal spray: Adults and children 2 years of age and older can use one spray in each nostril three or four times daily. If necessary, the dose may be increased to 6 times daily.

Ophthalmic (eye) solution: The usual dose in adults and children 4 years of age and older is one or two drops in each eye 4 to 6 times per day. Relief may be evident within a few days but several weeks of therapy may be required.

Oral concentrate solution: The recommended dose is 200 mg 4 times daily 30 minutes prior to meals.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: No drug interactions have been described with cromolyn.

PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether cromolyn is secreted into breast milk.

SIDE EFFECTS: Common side effects include diarrhea, headache, nausea, cough, wheezing, and dry throat. Allergic reactions also can occur. Increased spasm of the breathing tubes (bronchospasm), throat irritation, and cough are the most common side effects from oral inhalation of cromolyn. Taking a beta-adrenergic bronchodilator (for example, albuterol) prior to the cromolyn can prevent these side effects. Cromolyn intranasal spray can produce sneezing and nasal irritation, but these effects generally are short-lived following each application. Use of cromolyn eye drops can produce irritation of the eye. This effect also is generally short-lived.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Last Editorial Review: 3/26/2012

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