Cromolyn The Breakthrough Medicine In Asthma Treatment
Cromolyn sodium, (Intal) was discovered by Dr. Roger Altouynan who was himself a lifelong asthma sufferer. It is considered a breakthrough drug in management of asthma as the patients can be freed from steroids in many cases. Dr.Roger was investigating certain plants and herbs which have bronchodilating properties. One such plant was Khellin found in Egypt. Khellin was used as a muscle relaxant since ancient times in Egypt. Dr.Roger deliberately inhaled derivatives of khellin to determine if they could block his asthma attacks. After several years of trial he isolated an effective and safe asthma-preventing compound called cromolyn sodium.
Intially cromolyn was made in liquid form and used in nebulizers. The patient was put on nebulizer for couple days. Later it was developed in pocket inhaler form
Cromolyn has a unique mode of action. It will not relieve an acute asthma attack but will prevent asthma. It is not fully understood how it does it but it is widely considered that , cromolyn inhibits the release of the mediators from the mast cells. It is also unique in the sense that it is capable of blocking both the early and late phases of the asthmatic response.
In many studies done on thousands of asthmatics it was found that almost 80 percent of these study patients improved and almost 50 percent of those patients who needed cor¬tisone medications to control their asthma were able to reduce or discontinue their cortisone drugs.
Side effects from cromolyn are very rare. It may be the safest of all drugs in medicine. It was initially feared that this relatively unknown powder could harm the lung. These fears were un¬founded, as were the theoretical concerns that cromolyn, being an anti-allergy drug, might injure the immune system.
Cromolyn works best in children and adults who have allergic asthma. It can prevent asthma triggered by pollen, animal dander or exercise. It is also used to relieve food allergies, rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis. Finally it has to be noted that cromolyn is not a rescue medicine it will not stop an asthma attack once it has already started.