Cromolyn Sodium Nasal Spray

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last Reviewed: September 2022

Cromolyn sodium is used to relieve and prevent a stuffy, itchy, or runny nose, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms. It belongs to a class of drugs called mast cell stabilizers.1-3

There are different sprays sold over-the-counter (OTC). They are most often used to prevent and treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies like hay fever (allergic rhinitis). If used for long-term (chronic) allergies, these sprays may be used with a nasal steroid or antihistamine.1-3

How does cromolyn sodium work?

Cromolyn sodium helps prevent the release of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. It works by preventing mast cells from releasing substances called histamines.1-3

When mast cells send histamines into the immune system, it causes the body to make extra mucus and causes itching and sneezing. Reducing the release of histamine helps control allergy symptoms by preventing them before they start.1-3

Cromolyn sodium is usually a second- or third-line choice to treat for respiratory allergies. It may be used along with other drugs if your doctor recommends that.1-3

It may take a few weeks for these drugs to begin to work. When used for preventing symptoms, you can begin using cromolyn 1 to 2 weeks before allergy season begins.1-3

Types of cromolyn sodium

There are different kinds of cromolyn sodium available as a nose spray. Cromolyn sodium is sold as a generic drug. It comes with a special nasal applicator.1

What are the possible side effects of cromolyn sodium?

Side effects can vary depending on the version of this drug you are taking. The most common side effects of cromolyn sodium include:2

  • Sneezing
  • Stinging or burning inside the nose
  • Flushing

Less common side effects include:2

  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Drippy nose
  • Unpleasant taste

As the body gets used to the treatment, common side effects may go away. If you have wheezing or trouble breathing after using cromolyn sodium, call your doctor right away.1,2

Tell your doctor if you have ever had an unusual or allergic reaction to cromolyn sodium or any other drugs, food, dyes, preservatives, or animals. If taking an over-the-counter version of this drug, read the label carefully and follow all directions.1,3

These are not all the possible side effects of cromolyn nose sprays. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when using it. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking cromolyn.

Things to know about cromolyn sodium

Cromolyn sodium should be stored at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture. Keep the bottle clean with the cap on when not in use.1-3

Cromolyn sodium is not recommended for people who have or are:1-3

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Currently, cromolyn sodium is not recommended for children younger than 2.2

Cromolyn sodium can interact with other drugs. Before beginning treatment with cromolyn sodium, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you take. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

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