Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 19, 2022.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Nasal Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Mast Cell Stabilizer
Uses for cromolyn
Cromolyn nasal solution is used to help prevent or treat the symptoms (sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, itching) of seasonal (short-term) or chronic (long-term) allergic rhinitis. Cromolyn powder for nasal inhalation is used to help prevent seasonal (short-term) allergic rhinitis.
Cromolyn works by acting on certain cells in the body, called mast cells, to prevent them from releasing substances that cause the allergic reaction.
When cromolyn is used to treat chronic (long-term) allergic rhinitis, an antihistamine and/or a nasal decongestant may be used with cromolyn, especially during the first few weeks of treatment.
Nasal cromolyn is available without a prescription.
Before using cromolyn
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For cromolyn, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to cromolyn or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Studies on cromolyn have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of nasal cromolyn in children up to 6 years of age (in Canada, up to 5 years of age) with use in other age groups. In older children, cromolyn is not expected to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of nasal cromolyn in the elderly with use in other age groups, cromolyn is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of cromolyn. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Diseases of these body systems may alter the concentration of nasal cromolyn in the body
- Polyps or growths inside the nose—Cromolyn may not work if nasal passages are blocked
Proper use of cromolyn
Cromolyn usually comes with patient directions. Read them carefully before using the medicine.
Before using cromolyn, clear the nasal passages by blowing your nose.
- Cromolyn solution is used with a special spray device.
- To keep clean, wipe the nosepiece with a clean tissue and replace the dust cap after use.
- To avoid spreading an infection, do not use the container for more than one person.
Use cromolyn only as directed. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.
In order for cromolyn to work properly, it must be used every day in regularly spaced doses as ordered by your doctor:
- For patients using cromolyn for seasonal (short-term) allergic rhinitis, up to 1 week may pass before you begin to feel better.
- For patients using cromolyn for chronic (long-term) allergic rhinitis, up to 2 to 4 weeks may pass before you feel the full effects of cromolyn, although you may begin to feel better after 1 week.
The dose of cromolyn will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of cromolyn. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For nasal solution dosage form:
- For allergic rhinitis:
- Adults and children 6 years of age (in Canada, 5 years of age) and older—One spray into each nostril three to six times a day until condition is better; then, one spray in each nostril every eight to twelve hours.
- Children up to 6 years of age (in Canada, up to 5 years of age)—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For allergic rhinitis:
If you miss a dose of cromolyn, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using cromolyn
If your symptoms do not improve or if your condition becomes worse, check with your doctor.
Cromolyn side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- Allergic reaction (coughing
- difficulty in swallowing
- hives or itching
- swelling of face, lips, or eyelids
- wheezing or difficulty in breathing)
- skin rash
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Burning, stinging, or irritation inside of nose
- increase in sneezing
- postnasal drip
- unpleasant taste
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about cromolyn nasal
- Compare alternatives
- Pricing & coupons
- Reviews (5)
- Side effects
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- Drug class: nasal antihistamines and decongestants
- En español
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.