Mast Cell Stabilizers
Mast cell stabilizers work to prevent allergy cells called mast cells from breaking open and releasing chemicals that help cause inflammation. They make the airways less sensitive to many asthma triggers.
Mast cell stabilizers are not rescue medicines.
They work slowly over time, taking two to six weeks to become effective. Mast cell stabilizers come in metered dose inhalers and in a solution for nebulizers. They must be taken two to four times a day to work. Possible side effects are cough, runny nose, throat irritation, unpleasant taste and headache.
Examples: Cromolyn Sodium and Tilade®
- Prevent asthma symptoms from occurring
- Can reduce and/or prevent:
- Inflammation and scarring in the airways
- Tightening of the muscle bands around the airways (bronchospasm)
- Do not show immediate results, but work slowly over time
- Should be taken daily, even when you are not having symptoms
- Should NOT be used to relieve immediate asthma symptoms
According to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program at the National Institutes of Health, long-term controller medicines should be considered when infants or young children have had three or more episodes of wheezing in the previous year and who are at an increased risk of developing asthma because of their own or their parents' history of allergic diseases. They also recommend long-term controller medicines for children who need short-acting bronchodilators (rescue medicines) more than twice a week or have had severe asthma symptoms less than six weeks apart. Without a controller medicine, the underlying inflammation will continue to cause more asthma symptoms.
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