A single dose of low-dose cromolyn sodium causes a "striking
decrease" in sickle cells in African children with severe sickle-cell disease.
While the mechanism underlying the antisickling effect of cromolyn sodium remains unclear, the findings
suggest that the drug "is a good candidate for antisickling treatment," Dr. Maurice Vanhaelen, of the
Universite Libre de Bruxelles, in Belgium, and colleagues conclude in the July 22nd issue of The Lancet.
The investigators administered intranasal or inhaled sodium cromoglicate to nine African children with
severe sickle-cell disease. The dose used was four times lower than that generally prescribed for asthma
therapy, according to their report.
In both groups of children, the treatment caused a "striking decrease" in sickle cells, and the improvement
could still be detected 24 hours after drug administration. This effect is consistent with prior in vitro
findings by the same researchers.
Dr. Vanhaelen and colleagues note that cromolyn sodium has several advantages as a treatment for
sickle-cell disease, including its "very low toxicity" and low cost.