Sodium cromoglicate capsules for food allergy (Nalcrom)

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Take sodium cromoglicate 30-60 minutes before a meal.

Side-effects are uncommon but may include feeling sick, joint pain, and skin rash.

Type of medicineAn anti-allergy medicine
Used forFood allergy
Also calledNalcrom®
Available asCapsules

Sodium cromoglicate capsules are used to prevent the symptoms of food allergy. A food allergy is an abnormal reaction of your body's immune system to a particular food. Even a tiny amount of the food can cause an allergic reaction to take place, and this can range from a mild reaction to one that is severe. Foods that most commonly cause allergy are milk, eggs, nuts (especially peanuts), seeds, shellfish and other seafood, wheat, soya and some fruits such as citrus and kiwi.

The only real treatment for food allergy is to avoid that food. Because it can be very difficult to avoid certain foods completely, sodium cromoglicate is an anti-allergic medicine which is prescribed to help prevent allergic reactions from occurring. It also helps to reduce the severity of any symptoms that do occur. It works by preventing the release of certain substances in your body which cause the allergic reaction.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking sodium cromoglicate it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you (or your child) start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about sodium cromoglicate capsules, and it will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which you could experience from taking them.
  • Take the capsules exactly as your doctor tells you to. As a guide, the usual starting dose for adults and children over 14 years of age is: 200 mg (two capsules) four times daily. The usual starting dose for a child aged 2-13 years is: 100 mg (one capsule) four times daily. Your dose, however, may be higher or lower than this. Your doctor will tell you what dose is right for you, and the dose will be printed on the label of the pack of capsules to remind you about what the doctor said to you.
  • The capsules can be swallowed whole with a drink of water. Alternatively, if you prefer (or if they have been prescribed for a young child) you can open up the capsules and mix the contents into a small amount of hot water. If you do this, make sure you add a little cold water before drinking it.
  • Try to take each of your doses about 30-60 minutes before a meal.
  • If you forget to take a dose at your usual time, take it as soon as you remember. If when you remember, it is almost time to take your next dose then miss out the forgotten dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
  • It is very important that you follow the advice you have been given about which foods you must avoid. Remember to check the labels on food packaging carefully.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • If you have also been prescribed an injection of adrenaline (epinephrine), it is important that you carry this with you at all times and that you know how to use it if needed.
  • More information about living with a food allergy is available in the condition leaflet called Food Allergy and Intolerance.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the ones associated with sodium cromoglicate. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Sodium cromoglicate side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sickStick to simple or bland meals (avoid rich and spicy foods)
Skin rash, pain in your jointsIf either of these becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the capsules, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, please remember to tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

If you buy any medicines, please check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take with your other medicines.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Nalcrom®; Sanofi, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2014.
  • British National Formulary; 70th Edition (Sep 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
3821 (v24)
Last Checked:
28/10/2015
Next Review:
27/10/2018
The Information Standard - certified member

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