Compare cromolyn vs. Asacol

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Relieves nasal allergy symptoms. Intal (Cromolyn) is a good option to relieve nasal allergy symptoms when antihistamines aren't working. Good choice for pregnant women.Treats inflammatory bowel disease. Lialda (Mesalamine) is an effective first-line medicine for inflammatory bowel disease. There isn't a generic version and you'll have to take it multiple times a day.
How it works
Intal (Cromolyn) is a mast-cell stabilizer nasal spray that prevents and treats seasonal allergies.Lialda (Mesalamine) is an anti-inflammatory medication. Researchers don't know exactly how Lialda (Mesalamine) works in the colon, but it seems to lower the chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.
Type of medication
Mast cell stabilizerPrescription or OTC
Anti-inflammatoryPrescription only
Available as
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Enema
  • Suppository
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
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Side effects

We haven’t found good data for cromolyn side effects.

FDA side effect reports for cromolyn »
  • Pain 6%
  • Indigestion 5%
  • Constipation 4%
  • Abdominal pain 4%
  • Vomiting 3%
  • Rash 3%
  • Stiff or rigid muscles 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Joint pain 2%
  • Back pain 2%
More Asacol side effects »
Risk factors for serious side effects
Coming soon.
  • Asthma
  • Rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Aspirin allergy
  • NSAID allergy
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Age 65 or older
  • Liver problems
  • Taking Lialda (Mesalamine) at the start of treatment
Detailed Lialda (Mesalamine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
  • Not a good option if you have kidney disease.
  • Lialda (Mesalamine) is broken down by the kidney and liver. If you have kidney or liver problems, talk to your doctor because you may need to take a different dose of the medication.
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
  • Treats nasal allergy symptoms.
  • Most people don't have many side effects since it works in the nose and doesn't affect the rest of your body.
  • It's a good option for pregnant women. Can also be used for kids 2 years and older.
  • Doesn't make you drowsy or dizzy.
  • No prescription is needed.
  • Effective first-line medication for treating and lowering the symptoms of mild inflammatory bowel disease.
  • About half the people who have mild to moderate colon inflammation and take Lialda (Mesalamine) will see improvement.
  • Available in tablets, capsules, enemas, and suppositories.
  • Certain forms of Lialda (Mesalamine) can be used during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you're pregnant, or plan on becoming pregnant, and you want to take Lialda (Mesalamine).
Downsides and risks
  • Needs to be used regularly for at least a week to see any good effects.
  • Can have an unpleasant smell or taste.
  • Can cause headaches, or burning and stinging in your nose.
  • No generic versions are available for the tablets, capsules, and suppositories (meaning it could be somewhat expensive).
  • Doesn't work well for severe colon inflammation.
  • You may need to take Lialda (Mesalamine) three or four times a day.
  • Not a good option if you have kidney disease.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • Works best when used one week before exposure to allergens. It takes about 1 to 2 weeks until you feel the full effects.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you know how to use this nose spray. Don't use more than recommended.
  • Shake the spray gently and clear your nose before each use.
  • Before using it for the first time, prime the spray pump until you see a fine mist.
  • Breathe in slowly as you're spraying. Wait a few minutes before blowing your nose if needed.
  • Don't take Lialda (Mesalamine) if you're allergic to aspirin. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any drug allergies you have before starting Lialda (Mesalamine).
  • Taking antacids with Lialda (Mesalamine) can make your inflammation worse. Talk to your doctor before you make any changes.
  • You can sunburn more easily when taking Lialda (Mesalamine). Use sunscreen and protective clothing when you go outdoors.
  • Don't break, chew, or crush the tablets because they're coated and won't work as well.
  • The suppositories should be kept in for at least 1 to 3 hours to get the most benefit.
Learn more
More about cromolynSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about AsacolSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert