Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mast cell stabilizers used in the treatment of asthma

Mast cell stabilizers are also becoming popular in the treatment of asthma. They act by inhibiting the release of mediators such as histamine from the mast cells and hence prevent the asthma attack. This over secretion of mediators from the mast cells is one of the chief reasons of asthma.

Individual mast cell stabilisers for asthma

1. Sodium Cromoglycate (Cromolyn Sodium) - Sodium cromoglycate is the first drug used in this class. Cromolyn sodium is synthetic derivative of chromone. It acts by preventing the release of asthmatic mediators like histamine, leukotrienes, interleukins, PAF etc. from mast cells.

Sodium cromoglycate does not affect the antigen-antibody reaction and hence it has no effect if used at the time of asthmatic attack. Sodium cromoglycate is effective in the prevention of bronchospasm caused by any reason. However, long term use of Sodium cromoglycate decreases the response of inflammatory cells.

Sodium cromoglycate is orally ineffective drug and so most preferably it is administered as aerosol preparation. Sodium cromoglycate is used in the treatment of bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis.

The main adverse effects of Sodium cromoglycate include bronchospasm, throat irritation and cough can occur in some patients. Rare side effects are nasal congestion, headache, dizziness, arthralgia, rashes and dysuria.

2. Nedocromil Sodium – Nedocromil Sodium is another chromone derivative which is almost similar in action to the cromoglycate. The only difference with the Sodium cromoglycate is that it is more potent than the same and hence requires lesser dose.

3. Ketotifen – This is the only orally active mast cell stabilizer. Primarily this drug is antihistaminic (H1) and slightly cromoglycate type activity. Ketotifen chemically is non chromone derivative and primarily used for the prophylaxis of asthma.
The main side effects of ketotifen include sedation, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, weight gain etc.

Note- This article is written for the purpose of providing you the basic knowledge of the topic and should not be taken as for prescription.

Other suggested readings for the treatment of asthma-
1. Treatment of asthma by sympathomimetic drugs.
2.Herbal drugs used for the treatment asthma


  1. Thanks for sharing this extremely informative article on asthma treatment. I recently read about Asthma treatment, preventive measures to control and medication for Asthma on I found it extremely helpful.

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