Allergies Pollen Cromolyn

Cromolyn, or Cromoglicic acid, is a compound used to prevent allergic reactions and is also commonly used to treat asthma. Considered safe and effective, cromolyn is available as:

  • a nasal spray
  • an inhalant
  • a cream
  • eye drops
  • a pill.

For people that suffer from known seasonal allergies, cromolyn can prevent symptoms before they start. It works best when taken before the onset of symptoms. Cromolyn is not effective in treating sinus infections or common cold symptoms.

Cromolyn should be taken as directed by your doctor. To treat allergies and their symptoms, cromolyn is often used as a nasal spray, which may be used up to six times per day. Cromolyn should be taken before symptoms are present, so that it can prevent the body’s reaction to specific allergens.

About Cromolyn

Cromolyn was approved by the FDA in 1973, and approved as a nasal spray in 1997. It is commonly prescribed under the brand names of Gastrocrom and Nalcrom. Your doctor may prescribe cromolyn in different dosages and frequencies. If you experience side effects, your doctor may lower your dosage or have you take it at a different time of day. If you have concerns about taking cromolyn sodium or using cromolyn cream, you should discuss your issues with your doctor.

How Cromolyn Works

Cromolyn curbs pollen allergy symptoms or stops them before they start, by preventing the release of certain chemicals (such as histamine) from mast cells. Mast cells are types of cells rich in histamine. For people with allergies, mast cells release chemicals when the body is exposed to allergens. Cromolyn prevents the release of certain chemicals, thereby preventing symptoms of allergies and asthma. Cromolyn is also used to prevent a rare mast cell disorder called mastocytosis.

Cromolyn Oral Inhaler

Cromolyn as an inhalant can control asthma spasms and allergy symptoms, such as congestion and runny nose. If a person has swelling or redness of the eye, cromolyn opthamolic solution may be used. Nasal spray is used to treat nasal symptoms of allergies like congestion, stuffy nose, runny nose and nasal discharge. When used as a nasal spray, one spray into each nostril every four to six hours is the typical dosage, although your doctor may specify otherwise. Always follow dosage instructions as directed by your doctor or allergist.

Side Effects of Cromolyn

Cromolyn is generally well-tolerated by the body, although side effects may occur at the application site. Typically mild, some of the unpleasant side effects that are possible with cromolyn are:

  • body aches
  • cough
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • nasal irritation
  • nausea
  • occasional headache
  • sneezing
  • wheezing.

Side effects may be increased if you take other oral or inhaled steroids. If you have kidney or liver disease, you may need a lower dose of cromolyn. Cromolyn is an option for prevention and treatment of allergy symptoms, but it may not necessarily be the best option. Other medicines are available, and may be more effective.

If you have allergies, discuss your symptoms with your doctor. As always, take medications exactly as directed by your physician.


MedicineNet, Inc. (n.d.). Cromolyn. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from the Medicine Net Web site

Serrano, K. (2008). Cromolyn sodium for treating allergies. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from the Discovery Health Web site