Cromones may be of some benefit in adults and children older than 5 years to help with asthma symptoms, but the evidence is inconclusive. Sodium cromoglicate offers no clear benefit in children aged 5 years or younger [SIGN and BTS, 2011]:
- A systematic review (24 double-blind randomized controlled trials [RCTs], n = 1074 children) concluded that sodium cromoglicate may have a small overall treatment effect; however, this finding lacked statistical significance, and the likelihood of publication bias was high. The authors concluded that sodium cromoglicate should not be used as first-line therapy in asthma management [Tasche et al, 2000].
- A systematic review (15 randomized controlled trials, n = 1422 children) concluded that nedocromil may reduce symptoms in children with asthma, but the longer-term evidence of symptom benefit is limited and inconsistent. More evidence is required on nedocromil compared with inhaled corticosteroids, whose efficacy is well established in asthma. In short-term studies, nedocromil showed promising results compared with placebo, especially in terms of lung function. However, the primary endpoint of symptom-free days was inconsistent in the longer-term studies. The only significant adverse effect was unpleasant taste [Sridhar and McKean, 2006].