Cromolyn oral inhalation will no longer be available in the U.S. after December 31, 2010. If you are currently using cromolyn, you should call your doctor to discuss switching to another treatment.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Cromolyn is used to prevent the wheezing, shortness of breath, and troubled breathing caused by asthma. It also is used to prevent breathing difficulties (bronchospasm) during exercise. It works by preventing the release of substances that cause inflammation (swelling) in the air passages of the lungs.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Cromolyn comes as a solution and an aerosol to inhale by mouth. It is usually inhaled three or four times a day to prevent asthma attacks or within an hour before activities to prevent breathing difficulties caused by exercise.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use cromolyn exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
It may take up to 4 weeks for cromolyn to work. You should use it regularly for it to be effective. If your symptoms have not improved after 4 weeks, tell your doctor.
Cromolyn is used with a special inhaler. Before you use cromolyn inhalation for the first time, read the instructions for your device. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist to demonstrate the proper technique. Practice using your inhalation device while in his or her presence.
To use the inhaler, follow these steps:
- Shake the inhaler well.
- Remove the protective cap.
- Exhale (breathe out) as completely as possible through your nose while keeping your mouth shut.
- Open Mouth Technique: Open your mouth wide, and place the open end of the mouthpiece about 1 or 2 inches from your mouth.Closed Mouth Technique: Place the open end of the mouthpiece well into your mouth, past your front teeth. Close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece.
- Take a slow, deep breath through the mouthpiece and, at the same time, press down on the container to spray the medication into your mouth. Be sure that the mist goes into your throat and is not blocked by your teeth or tongue. Adults giving the treatment to young children may hold the child's nose closed to be sure that the medication goes into the child's throat.
- Hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds, remove the inhaler, and exhale slowly through your nose or mouth. If you take two puffs, wait 2 minutes and shake the inhaler well before taking the second puff.
- Replace the protective cap on the inhaler.
If you have difficulty getting the medication into your lungs, a spacer (a special device that attaches to the inhaler) may help; ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using cromolyn,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cromolyn or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially isoproterenol (Aerolone, Isuprel, others) and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using cromolyn, call your doctor.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Cromolyn may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- sore throat
- bad taste in the mouth
- stomach pain
- stuffy nose
- itching or burning nasal passages
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- increased difficulty breathing
- swelling of the tongue or throat
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Avoid puncturing the aerosol container, and do not dispose of it in an incinerator or fire.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to cromolyn.
Do not use cromolyn to relieve an asthma attack that has already started; continue to use the medication prescribed for your acute attacks.
To relieve dry mouth or throat irritation caused by cromolyn inhalation, rinse your mouth with water, chew gum, or suck sugarless hard candy after each treatment.
Inhalation devices require regular cleaning. Once a week, remove the drug container from the plastic mouthpiece, wash the mouthpiece with warm tap water, and dry it thoroughly. Follow the written instructions for care of other inhalation devices.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.