Compare cromolyn vs. Symbicort

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Intal
(Cromolyn)

Symbicort
(Budesonide / Formoterol)

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.Prevents breathing problems. Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) is good for people who need two medicines to control their asthma or COPD, but it might be expensive since there's no generic available.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)
57%
+57% vs. Intal (Cromolyn)
39%
+39% vs. Intal (Cromolyn)
15%
15% vs. Intal (Cromolyn)
Side effects
cromolynSymbicort

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

FDA side effect reports for cromolyn »
  • Stomach discomfort 5%
  • Oral candidiasis 4%
  • Headache 4%
  • Throat pain 4%
  • Lung infection 3%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 3%
  • Common cold 2%
  • Flu 2%
  • Nasal congestion 2%
  • Vomiting 2%
More Symbicort side effects »
How it works
cromolynSymbicort
Intal (Cromolyn) is a mast-cell stabilizer nasal spray that prevents and treats seasonal allergies.Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) is a combination medicine. Budesonide (a corticosteroid) lowers lung inflammation to control asthma and COPD. Formoterol (a bronchodilator) relaxes muscles in your lungs to open airways and make breathing easier.
Type of medication
cromolynSymbicort
Mast cell stabilizerPrescription or OTC
Anti-inflammatory
Corticosteroid
Bronchodilator
Long-acting bronchodilator
Prescription only
Available as
cromolynSymbicort
  • Nasal spray
  • Inhaler
Used for (click to learn more)
cromolynSymbicort
Risk factors for serious side effects
cromolynSymbicort
Coming soon.
  • Adverse effect of long-acting beta agonist drugs (LABAs), one of the medications in Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol), a combination drug.
  • History of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • Age greater than 65 years
  • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
  • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
  • Not rinsing mouth after use
  • Higher dose of the corticosteroid medication contained in Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)
  • Adverse effect of long-acting beta agonist drugs (LABAs) found in Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol), a combination medication.
  • History of arrhythmia, hypertension or heart failure
Detailed Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
cromolynSymbicort
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
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • Doesn't make you drowsy or dizzy.
  • Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) may increase blood pressure and heart rate, especially if you already have these conditions. These symptoms are related to one of the medications in this product so don't change or increase your dose without talking to your doctor first. Tell your doctor if you develop dizziness, tremor, nausea, rapid heartbeat, become very tired or have difficulty sleeping while taking Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol), you may need to change or stop this medication.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
cromolynSymbicort
  • 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.
  • 2-in-1 medicine that lowers inflammation and opens airways in your lungs. Medicines are more effective together than alone.
  • Makes lung function significantly better.
  • Lowers the number of flare-ups and rescue inhaler uses in asthma and COPD.
  • In studies, shown to improve asthma symptoms, rescue inhaler use, and lung function on the first day.
Downsides and risks
cromolynSymbicort
  • 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.
  • You have to use Symbicort twice a day, every day to control your symptoms.
  • You can't lower the dose or stop taking it too suddenly.
  • Lower doses are not as effective for COPD.
  • Can make your heart race.
  • Steroids can slow height growth in kids.
  • Because steroids suppress your immune system, you can catch bacterial and viral infections easier, and they can take longer to go away.
  • There have been some reports of worsening asthma leading to death when taking this medicine.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
cromolynSymbicort
  • 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.
  • Lowers inflammation and opens airways to improve breathing.
  • Prevents breathing problems, but doesn't stop sudden cough or wheezing once they start.
  • Starts working in about 30 minutes, but can take 1 to 2 weeks to feel full effects.
  • Use inhaler in a level position, and don't breathe out into the device.
  • Rinse your mouth out with water after each use.
  • Shake inhaler for 5 seconds before you use it.
  • Pump the inhaler 4 times before inhaling the first dose, or if it's been more than a month since your last dose.
  • Call 911 or your doctor if it's hard to breathe, or if you have an asthma attack while taking this medication.
Learn more
More about cromolynSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about SymbicortSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert