Mast Cell Stabilizers for Long-Term Control of Asthma
Cromolyn is used with a metered-dose inhaler or a nebulizer. Inhalers may be used differently, depending on the medicine used. Always read the directions to be sure you are using the inhaler correctly.
How It Works
Mast cells are found throughout the body, including in the airways in the lungs. They can release substances that result in inflammation, causing the symptoms of asthma. Mast cell stabilizers prevent the mast cells from releasing the substances that cause inflammation. This may reduce asthma symptoms.
Why It Is Used
Cromolyn may be used to treat mild persistent asthma. It also can be used to prevent asthma symptoms during exercise and before exposure to a substance that may trigger an asthma attack. Mast cell stabilizers are not as effective as inhaled corticosteroids, which are now the recommended treatment.1
Different types of medicines are often used together in the treatment of asthma. Medicine treatment for asthma depends on a person's age, his or her type of asthma, and how well the treatment is controlling asthma symptoms.
Your doctor will work with you to help find the number and dose of medicines that work best.
How Well It Works
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:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Cromolyn has been approved for use in children age 5 and older. It must be inhaled 3 or 4 times a day and may take longer than 2 weeks to take effect.
Sometimes doctors recommend the use of a spacer with a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). The spacer is attached to the MDI. A spacer may deliver the medicine to your lungs better than an inhaler alone. And for many people it is easier to use than an MDI alone.
Try to avoid giving your child an inhaled medicine when he or she is crying, because not as much medicine is delivered to the lungs.
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.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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