The People's Perspective on Medicine

Allergy Symptoms? | NasalCrom to the Rescue!

What do you take for your allergy symptoms? Antihistamines? Steroid nasal sprays? Decongestants? Have you ever heard of NasalCrom (cromolyn sodium)? It might be a good choice.
Girl on grass with medicines for allergies

Ask most people what works best to calm allergy symptoms and you are likely to hear about antihistamines or corticosteroid nasal sprays. That’s hardly surprising. If you’ve watched any TV at all the chances are good that you have seen commercials for pills like Allegra, Claritin, Xyzal and Zyrtec. Sprays like Flonase, Nasacort and Rhinocort are portrayed as wonderful solutions to allergy symptoms. What you probably have not seen are fancy, new commercials featuring NasalCrom against allergies.

NasalCrom Prevents Allergy Symptoms

This reader shares his enthusiasm for NasalCrom:

Q. NasalCrom actually works BETTER for me than the allergy pills that cause side effects. I’ve been telling everyone about it for several years. It gets a lot of word-of-mouth recommendations. Maybe that is why we don’t see a huge advertising budget for it.

This nasal spray takes several days to kick in but then it is wonderful. Rather than addressing symptoms you already have, it prevents you from having the symptoms in the first place. I am now back to being a person who just doesn’t have allergies!

How Does Cromolyn Prevent Allergy Symptoms?

A. Cromolyn (NasalCrom) stabilizes mast cells in the nose. These cells release histamine and other compounds when exposed to pollen and other allergens.

You can learn more about the mechanism whereby NasalCrom calms allergy symptoms at this link:

Other Readers Share Stories About NasalCrom for Allergy Symptoms:

Randall in Indiana offers this perspective:

“I love NasalCrom. It works far better for me that any of the alternatives. Sadly, I never see it in stores, so I just buy it from Amazon. The manufacturer doesn’t seem to advertise this product, but I’m glad it’s still made. Hope they keep making it.”

Last Fall Bob in Chicago had to search for NasalCrom to calm his allergy symptoms:

“My allergies had always been horrible until I started using NasalCrom in the early 1980s. Since then, I have had little-to-no problems and NO side effects. The only problem is that recently Walgreens has stopped carrying it and I’ve had to order it online.”

R.W.W. in Wisconsin has a similar story:

“I have been using NasalCrom since the mid 1980s. Before that I had severe allergies that shots could not help. I had allergies year-round with many sensitivities.

“After starting NasalCrom…no more shots or antihistamines. I have been virtually free of allergy symptoms unless I stop using Nasalcrom. Even then I am much better.”

O.G. in South Carolina says this:

“Wherever you find it — big box stores and many drugstores used to carry it, although you had to look hard to find it — NasalCrom is underappreciated and extremely effective without the side effects of other allergy products.

“My five-star recommendation: used correctly and consistently, NasalCrom is the best allergy product on the market. I love it. (And no, neither I, nor any of my relatives or friends, work for the company!)”

People’s Pharmacy Perspective:

We have no financial or other ties to the maker of NasalCrom. We do our best to stay objective and independent. NasalCrom does have side effects, like all medications. Some people report sneezing, a bad taste, nose bleeds and a burning sensation. Anyone who experiences such adverse reactions should discontinue the drug.

Corticosteroid nasal sprays also have side effects. We worry about absorption of such steroids and possible systemic side effects. You can read more about these drugs at this link:

Share your own story about treating allergy symptoms in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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If anyone has lost their sense of smell from using Nasalcrom, here’s my experience with zinc and vitamins A & D: I lost my sense of smell many years ago after a bout of flu. A wonderful doctor told me to take A&D and it came back. I also added zinc because it is necessary as an essential mineral.

NasalCrom is awesome. I only use it twice a day and it works fine. Unfortunately it is very expensive, but it’s the only thing that works for me.

Those steroid nose sprays caused me to have nosebleeds and headaches, but I also read they can cause pneumonia and cataracts. Since I’m near-sighted with history of vitreous fluid detachment and latice degeneration in one of my eyes, cataract surgery is out of the question. So I won’t use steroid sprays. None of these issues exist with Nasalcrom.

NasalCrom continues to be remarkably effective for me. I used to develop dreadful nasal congestion and a lingering cough twice each year–spring and fall–but after beginning NasalCrom, I have had no “colds” and no recurrence of the miserable allergies. It is almost like magic. I certainly hope they keep making it.

My Drug Store in Iowa carries Nasalcrom.

Back in the 1980’s my dr recommended NasalCrom for hay fever. It works but one must be faithful with it’s use. Costco does not carry it however, the pharmacy will order it for you. There are 2 sizes, I order the larger for convenience.

I am a very satisfied, long-term user of Nasalcrom. I only use it during allergy seasons. Like another commentator above, I worry that the manufacturer will discontinue it at some point. (They never seem to advertise it). So, I am happy to help spread the word, to increase their customer base! (I have no financial affiliation with them). I have never had unpleasant side effects.

I live in Florida, and am basically allergic to Florida, so I’ve tried many different products (prescription and OTC) since we moved here nearly 30 years ago. I tried NasalCrom a few years ago when I first read about on this site. I used it religiously, as described on the directions for use. It seemed to work for a couple of weeks, but then I developed an almost constant severe dry cough, worse than I’d ever had with my allergies. I stopped using it and the cough went away. Back to my Zyrtec and Flonase, which mostly keep things in check.

I take 2 500mg Quercitin every day for my perennial allergies and it works great, naturally. IT works of if you take it every now and again, but after 2 weeks every day I have had my allergy symptoms under control for the first time in a long time.

I used Nasalcrom for several years around 2000. I worked well to ward off hay fever, however, I almost totally lost my sense of smell. I can only smell something extreme like a skunk. I’m convinced the Nasalcrom did it. I wasn’t on any other medication.

If you cannot find it in the store, ask the pharmacy if they have it in the back. If not, ask if they are able to order it for you from their wholesaler. All of the pharmacies I ever worked were able to do that for items that don’t sell in high enough volume for the store to stock it with similar products out front.

That will be a much better option than mail order, as it won’t be subjected to high heat in trucks and mailboxes. Most Rx stock bottles say the meds should be stored between 59 & 72 degrees (F). As a pharmacist, I never order any medicine or vitamin to be mailed or otherwise sent to the house unless the weather will be cool – not freezing, not hot.

I”ve been using NasalCrom for years on the advice of a young Physician. My current MD put me on a steroid for a short time when I had a sinus problem, but NasalCrom is my “go to” allergy remedy for long-term use.

I buy my NasalCrom at Bartell’s Drugs – perhaps they can order it for people, circumventing Amazon’s shipping charges. Have it sent to the store, and pick it up free.

You can buy it through

I loved it for several years. Then, every time I used it I started having severe nose-bleeds. Stopped it immediately!

Nasalcrom was recalled earlier this year. May we assume that the problem is now fixed?

Based on what I read here, I ordered Nasalcrom from Amazon with high hopes. I also have glaucoma and wanted to get off Nasacort despite it working beautifully for me. I also take Zyzal or Zyrtec daily, but I’m said to say that despite using it for 3 months, 2-3 times a day, I felt the Nasalcrom did nothing for my allergies.
I did stumble across a supplement that seems to help– quercetin. It was found to help with glaucoma, specifically its effect on retinal cells ( Oddly I found that it helps with allergies too! I would be verging on breakthrough and take quercetin (twice a day dosing) and about 20 minutes later noticed the nasal allergies settling down again.
Imagine my surprise when I checked the reviews and read that it helped quite a bit with allergies.

Yes! Nasalcrom is the best for me, too! I used to react almost immediately to strong scents, like smelling perfume, Air fresheners, or people’s clothing that is overly-scented by laundry products. I spray nasalcrom before I go the the gym and have very little reaction now. I combine Nasalcrom with D-hist, an antihistamine supplement that helps control seasonal allergies.

I tried Nasal Crom after hearing about it from an earlier article on People’s Pharmacy. I was very excited to have an alternative to Rhinocort. Unfortunately, it did not work for me.

Yes, yes, and YES! I keep telling people about Nasalcrom, and wish they’d take me seriously on this one. It seems to me that unless something is an antihistamine, with a familiar brand name backed by lots of advertising, and with all the usual side effects, it seems too mundane, too easy, for people to believe it actually works.

But let me say it loudly here: Nasalcrom is great, if harder and harder to find. I have had NO side effects. It’s always been effective for me — and I’ve been using it during our Southern pollen season (known elsewhere as “Spring”) for years.

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

This article implies that NasalCrom can be effective for nasal congestion as an allergy symptom. Can it be effective for other symptoms, such as dermititis, asthma, or hayfever?
What is the active ingredient, and are there alternative (generic) formulas?

In the early 70s I was suffering severe sinus and cluster headaches. Nothing but the strongest drugs with the usual side effects worked on a permanent basis.

Then, my MD told me about an article he read in a medical journal about cromolyn sodium and how it was being used in Australia to treat symptom such as mine. At the time, the drug was relatively unknown in the US. Somehow, I don’t recall how, we obtained gel capsules of the drug but no way to dispense it. It was in powder form and difficult to get into the nostrils.

I took a used Vicks inhaler and made in into a cromolyn sodium dispenser by placing it in each nostril and inhaling the powder as hard as I could. I did this for several days and my headaches cleared up, never to return. Years later cromolyn sodium was introduced to the US in a powder spray form similar to the device I had created. It had a small propeller that forced the powder in the nostrils.

I found Nasalcrom at my local grocery store pharmacy dept. I switched to it because I’m highly sensitive to steroids which are contained in most other nasal sprays for allergies.

When Nasal Chrome and Chromolyn appeared many years ago, I tried them. Unfortunately, one of my many chemical-based allergies turned out to be a common preservative in all the contact solutions I had used for 25 years, and other drugs for eyes and sinuses. Benzalkonium Chloride. So these new drugs only worsened the allergies in my sinuses and conjunctiva, instead of helping. Ah, well.

I have used NasalCrom for about 10 years. It helps with allergies if you use it consistently. I have Glaucoma and it does not cause any side affects to my eyes as some other products may. Usually I order on line as it is difficult to find in store.

Unfortunately, Nasalcrom makes my heart race and gives me insomnia 😞

I used NasalCrom regularly when I lived in London in the 1970s. I didn’t know it was available here! A product that I also found to be extremely helpful was OptiCrom eye drops. I have not seen them here. CVS has information on their website but no sign of the product.

Nasalcrom was recommended to me many years ago. I’ve used it whenever my nose gets stuffy and have no side effects. The only drugstore chain that carries it in Columbia SC is CVS. Otherwise I’d have to order it online. Nasalcrom is immediately effective for me. It is not addictive and doesn’t have the rebound effect that other products seem to have.

I found NasalCrom by accident. I thought I was buying the other look alike product. It works better than any other product I have used. It’s a shame that it is so difficult to find. My local Publix market carries it.

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