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Understanding Asthma Medications (cont.)

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.

Use

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. Mast cell inhibitors may cause a cough, irritation or unpleasant taste.

Side effects

These drugs are only effective for prevention and are not to be used to treat an acute asthma attack.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/15/2014

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