Cromolyn (Nasal)

Cromolyn nasal spray is used to prevent the onset of allergy symptoms, or to relieve them once they have already appeared.

Overview

When people are allergic to food, pets, medications, or various kinds of vegetation and pollen, the side effects produced can be extremely bothersome, and if severe enough, even debilitating to some extent. Often characterized by runny nose, inflammation around the face and eyes, congestion, persistent sneezing, coughing, and itching, these symptoms can literally make a person feel miserable.

One of the most effective treatments available for many kinds of allergies is cromolyn nasal spray, because it has the effect of blocking the production of substances in the body which cause inflammation, and trigger many of those aforementioned symptoms. Contrary to what some people believe, cromolyn nasal spray does not have any significant impact on alleviating the symptoms of a common cold, sinus infections, or asthma.

It may not be safe for you to use cromolyn nasal spray if you already have medical conditions which include any of the following: wheezing or any kind of difficulty with the respiratory system, yellow-colored or green-colored nasal mucus, regular fevers, or any known allergies to medications.

This medication is available without a prescription, and is applied as a spray, directly into the nasal passages. It is sometimes used in conjunction with an antihistamine or nasal decongestant, especially in the treatment of long-term allergic rhinitis. In most cases, the combination approach is adopted during the first few weeks of treatment, and then slowly withdrawn in later stages.

Condition Treated

  • Treatment or prevention of allergic symptoms

Type of Medicine

  • Anti-inflammatory

Side Effects

In addition to bringing about the reduction of allergic symptoms in the sufferer, there are sometimes a few side effects which appear that are considered undesirable, and may cause discomfort to the patient. The first of these might be considered an allergic reaction to the allergy medication it would induce the same kind of side effects which it is being used to prevent or dissipate, only probably much more severely. If you develop any of these side effects immediately after spraying with cromolyn nasal, you should seek medical attention immediately, because there is a potential for the symptoms to become worse.

The most severe side effects from using cromolyn nasal spray include all of the following, and if you should observe any of these, you should notify your doctor at the next regularly scheduled visit:

  • style="font-weight: 400;">wheezing or other problems with breathing
  • a feeling of tightness in your chest
  • fevers and/or chills
  • mucus coming from the nose which is greenish or yellowish in color
  • sores in your nose
  • sinus pain or extreme discomfort in the sinuses
  • persistent nosebleeds which are often difficult to stop
  • burning sensation in your nose
  • a feeling of irritation or stinging in the nose.

There are also some lesser side effects which are not considered serious, and which do not necessarily call for medical attention, unless they cause significant discomfort to the patient:

  • sneezing after each application of the spray
  • a brief sensation of stinging or burning in the nose after spray application.

Dosage

A typical dosage of cromolyn would be one spray for each nostril, performed either three or four times daily, and spaced apart by between four and six hours. Your doctor will instruct you on the timing and frequency which he feels is best for your personal situation.

For best results, cromolyn should be taken several days before the onset of allergy season, or at least one hour before coming into contact with the source of your allergic reactions, e.g. a pet, fabric, etc. The medication should only be used during the seasons which trigger your allergic symptoms, and should never be used longer than about 3 consecutive months, unless your doctor has advised you to do so.

Cromolyn should not be used more than six times in any given day, even if you feel that your allergic symptoms are not being managed as effectively as you would like. If this is the case, do not take more cromolyn than your doctor has indicated, but instead you should inform your doctor that you feel the medication is not achieving the desired results. Rather than increasing your dosage, your doctor may recommend another medication entirely.

  • In order to get the best results from using cromolyn nasal spray, the following procedure should be adopted:
  • before spraying, blow your nose gently
  • while keeping your head completely upright, insert the tip of the nasal applicator into one nostril
  • press on the other nostril with your finger, to ensure that it stays closed during the spray application
  • as you inhale, spray the cromolyn into the first nostril
  • reverse the roles with the two nostrils, pressing the one just sprayed, and spraying into the one just being held
  • try to avoid sneezing or blowing your nose for several minutes after application, as this may discharge some of the medication
  • if any of the spray should get on your skin, inside your mouth, or in your eyes, you can rinse these areas with water, and that will prevent any negative reaction
  • after you've sprayed both nostrils, rinse the applicator tip with a tissue or wash with warm water, and restore the cap for next application.

Interactions

There are no known interactions with other medications that a patient should be concerned about, but it is still advisable to inform your doctor of all other medications which you are currently taking. To accommodate this, you should prepare a list of all prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins, as well as all the dosages for each of these. Your doctor can review this with you, and if he/she spots anything that might potentially interact with cromolyn nasal spray, some kind of action might be necessary.

The list you prepare of other medications will have another use as well, since it will be good to have when you need to make an unplanned trip to a clinic or emergency healthcare center. Doctors at the clinic will be able to treat your condition much better if they know which medications you are using, so they can prescribe the proper treatment for your emergency condition.

Warnings

You should avoid the usage of cromolyn nasal spray if you already know that cromolyn sodium triggers an allergic reaction for you, or if you suspect that you are exhibiting signs of an allergic reaction after beginning treatment with cromolyn. In that case, you should notify your doctor right away and seek immediate medical attention.

Before taking cromolyn, make sure you have informed your doctor if you have a medical history of asthma, nasal polyps, or if you have any known allergies to other medications. Be aware that cromolyn nasal will not be effective in treating allergy symptoms which are already underway. In order for it to be optimally effective, cromolyn sodium nasal should be used a week or more before you actually come in contact with whatever triggers your allergies.

When your allergies are of the seasonal variety, this is easier to manage, since the widespread dissemination of pollen can be predicted. However, when your allergies symptoms are triggered by dust, pets, or certain fabrics, it will not be practical to take cromolyn one week ahead of time. In situations like these, the best you can do is use your cromolyn nasal spray an hour or more before being exposed to the trigger.

You should discontinue usage of cromolyn sodium nasal spray if you develop nosebleeds after usage, or if you observe sores in your nose following application. The same is true if you experience runny noses, or mucus coming from the nose which is yellow or green in color. Also contact your doctor if you experience any kind of persistent stinging or burning in your nose, as well as difficulty breathing, or tightness of chest.

Cromolyn should not be used more than a half-dozen times within the same 24 hour period, and a period of treatment should not exceed 12 weeks, unless your family doctor has recommended it.

Storage

Cromolyn should be stored in a location which does not undergo extremes of heat, cold, or humidity. The bottle cap should always be tightly applied, and should be kept out of the reach of curious children, who might want to experiment with the spray after seeing an adult use the medication.

You should not share your cromolyn nasal with another person, even if they have the same symptoms of allergy that you do. It is possible to pass infections between people when the same nasal applicator is used, without a thorough cleaning and disinfection in between times. In a worst-case scenario, disease can even be passed between individuals who share the same nasal spray applicator.

Summary

Cromolyn comes in several forms of medication, with the nasal spray being one of the easiest to use, and most effective in the treatment of seasonal allergies, and exposure to other allergy triggers. It works as an anti-inflammatory agent, blocking the production of substances in the body which cause the traditional allergy symptoms: runny nose, itching, redness around the eyes, coughing, sneezing, itching, etc.

Cromolyn nasal spray is most effective when a program of treatment is begun well before allergy season has begun, with one week prior being a good time to start treatment. If you are using cromolyn to prevent allergic symptoms triggered by a cat or some other trigger, it will be best if you can apply the spray an hour or more before exposure. The spray will not be effective in treating allergy symptoms which are already underway.

This medication is available without a prescription, but should still be used under the guidance of a family doctor, because it may be necessary to seek alternative treatments, or to react to certain side effects of using the spray.

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