Cromolyn Sodium

Cromolyn sodium is a unique medication with anti-inflammatory effects in the lungs. If taken regularly, it is capable of decreasing asthma symptoms. While it has no bronchodilator effect, when taken prior to exposure, it can effectively block the asthmatic response to allergens and exercise; thus preventing the inset of inflammation. Because it is well tolerated and has no know toxicities, it is often used for children though it is also effective for adults.

Brand Name

*Generic solutions are available

Drug Action

Cromolyn is capable of preventing the release of chemical mediators from mast cells and other cells causing an asthmatic inflammation. Blocking the release of these mediators reduces the inflammation and airway hyperreactivity. In this way, Cromolyn effectively decreases asthma symptoms and improves lung function.

Side Effects

Cromolyn is essentially free of side effects.

Available Forms

Cromolyn must be inhaled to be effective in asthma. In most cases it can be administered two to four times daily. It is available as metered dose inhaler or as a clear liquid in vials for nebulization. It can be mixed with other nebulized medications. Other forms include eye drops and nasal spray for eye and nasal allergy.


As an asthma controller, Cromolyn is inhaled two to four times daily. For prophylaxis of exercise induced or allergic asthma, Cromolyn can be used up to thirty minutes prior to exposure.

Additional Comments

  • Cromolyn is not effective once allergen exposure or exercise has begun. Benefits of Cromolyn for exercise induced asthma fall off quickly after thirty minutes, so timing is important.
  • Cromolyn can also be taken before a known allergy season. For example, if one has particular trouble with ragweed, Cromolyn can be started prior to ragweed season (per physician recommendation) and stopped at the end of the season.
  • Cromolyn will not give relief in an acute asthma attack but should be continued during an asthma exacerbation, if tolerated.

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