Understanding Asthma Medications (cont.)
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Mast Cell Inhibitors
Cromolyn sodium (Intal) and nedocromil (Tilade) are used to prevent allergic symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, and asthma. The response is not as potent as that of corticosteroid inhalers.
How mast cell inhibitors work
These drugs prevent the release of histamine and other chemicals from mast cells that cause asthma symptoms when you come into contact with an allergen (for example, pollen). The drug is not effective until four to seven days after you begin taking it.
Who should not use these medications
Individuals who are allergic to any components of the inhaled product should not take these drugs.
Frequent dosing is necessary, since the effects last only six to eight hours. Mast cell inhibitors are available as a liquid to be used with a nebulizer, a capsule that is placed in a device that releases the capsule powder to inhale, and handheld inhalers.
Drug or food interactions
Since these drugs have little or no effect beyond the area applied, they are unlikely to interact with other drugs.
These drugs are only effective for prevention and are not to be used to treat an acute asthma attack.
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