Just months ago, the FDA approved cromolyn sodium in nasal spray form for treatment of allergic rhinitis (in other words, runny nose, sneezing, and congestion due to allergy). The brand name Nasalcrom has been available by prescription for years, and has been considered by doctors to be one of the safest drugs available.
Nasalcrom works on mast cells within your nasal membranes, (see [Allergies] for an animated mast cell demonstration explaining how they trigger your allergic sinus reactions). Nasalcrom actually stabilizes the mast cell membrane, preventing it from releasing histamine and other chemicals which cause unpleasant allergy symptoms. This is completely different from the way any other anti-allergy drug works. This nasal spray should not be confused with over-the-counter decongestant sprays, which can cause a lot of problems if used for more than a couple of days in a row. Nasalcrom can be used indefinitely without causing similar problems. Don’t be confused by the fact that Nasalcrom is a nasal spray too --- it’s the ingredients in the spray that cause both effects and side effects, not the method of medicine delivery into your body.
Since Nasalcrom doesn’t cause any drowsiness
or stimulation like other antihistamines and decongestants, it’s a unique
and welcome addition to the huge over-the-counter allergy remedy selection.
If you haven’t had good success with other OTC products, or if side effects
of antihistamines and decongestants are as bad for you as the allergies
themselves, you may want to try Nasalcrom. It’s also a good add-on
to other allergy treatment since it has no drug interactions. See
the [Allergies] topic
area for further information.
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