PMID: 3102198Jan 1, 1987

Cromolyn sodium: a review of mechanisms and clinical use in asthma

Drug Intelligence & Clinical Pharmacy
S Murphy, H W Kelly


The cellular and clinical pharmacology of cromolyn sodium are reviewed. Cromolyn sodium inhibits the release of mediators of inflammation, induced by specific antigens as well as nonspecific mechanisms, such as exercise, from mast cells. Cromolyn may also inhibit the activity of other cell types that produce inflammation. It is the only antiasthmatic that blocks both early and late asthmatic responses induced by allergen inhalation and exercise. Consequently, cromolyn therapy can block the increase in bronchial hyperreactivity induced by chronic allergen exposure. Cromolyn is effective for controlling the symptoms of mild to moderate chronic asthma in 60 to 70 percent of patients. In comparative studies, cromolyn has been as effective as theophylline for controlling symptoms of chronic asthma with fewer side effects, and may be particularly suited for asthmatic patients with learning or behavioral problems. The combination of theophylline and cromolyn is often more effective than either agent alone. Because of the convenience of administration, cromolyn is preferred over theophylline for exercise-induced asthma. Cromolyn may allow the corticosteroid dosage to be reduced in severe steroid-dependent asthmatics, but it is primaril...Continue Reading


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