Managing Mast Cell Activation Syndrome with Medication

Managing Mast Cell Activation Syndrome with Medication
If you have been diagnosed with mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), you are probably wondering what treatments are available to you. While there is no cure for MCAS, there are a number of medications that can help to manage the symptoms. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the most common medications used to treat MCAS.

Cromolyn Sodium 
Cromolyn sodium is a medication that can be taken orally or inhaled. It works by stabilizing mast cells and preventing them from releasing histamine and other inflammatory mediators. Cromolyn sodium is often used as a prophylactic treatment, meaning it is taken before symptoms occur. For this reason, it is often prescribed to people who experience triggers frequently or who have severe reactions. Side effects of cromolyn sodium include gastrointestinal distress, cough, and headache. In my experience starting very low and slow is best with this medication. Patience is also required as it can take a bit to work.

Ketotifen 
Ketotifen is an antihistamine that can be taken orally or applied topically as eye drops. It works by blocking histamine receptors, which prevents mast cells from releasing histamine and other inflammatory mediators. Ketotifen is typically used as a prophylactic treatment, but it can also be used to relieve symptoms once they have started. Side effects of ketotifen include drowsiness, dry mouth, and fatigue. This medication is not available commercially in the United States- your provider will have to send the prescription to a compounding pharmacy.

Omalizumab (XOLAIR)
Xolair is the medication that was a game changer for me personally. before Xolair I was experiencing anaphylactic like reactions to almost everything I was eating. This medication literally gave me my life back. Omalizumab is a monoclonal antibody that is given as an injection under the skin. It works by binding to IgE receptors on mast cells, which prevents mast cells from releasing histamine and other inflammatory mediators. Omalizumab is usually reserved for people who do not respond adequately to other treatments or who experience severe reactions. Side effects of omalizumab include injection site reactions, upper respiratory tract infection, and headache. 

If you have MCAS, there are a number of different medications that can help to manage your symptoms. The best course of treatment for you will depend on several factors, including the severity of your symptoms and any triggers you may have. Be sure to discuss all of your options with your doctor so that you can make the best decision for your individual needs.

The Difference Between Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

The Difference Between Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
If you're suffering from unexplained allergies or chronic inflammation, you may have mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) or histamine intolerance. Both of these conditions are complex and little-understood, but there are some key differences between them. Here's a quick overview of MCAS and histamine intolerance, and how to tell them apart.

Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is a disorder in which mast cells—a type of white blood cell—are abnormally activated. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including hives, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and difficulty breathing. MCAS is often triggered by an allergy or an infection, but it can also be brought on by stress or certain medications. There is no cure for MCAS, but treatments are available to help manage the symptoms.

Histamine intolerance is similar to mast cell activation syndrome in that it occurs when histamines—chemicals that are released by mast cells—build up in the body. However, unlike MCAS, histamine intolerance is not caused by an abnormal activation of mast cells. Rather, it is caused by a deficiency in one of the enzymes that breaks down histamines. This can be due to a genetic predisposition or acquired later in life due to certain medications or illnesses. Histamine intolerance can cause many of the same symptoms as MCAS, but these tend to be less severe. Additionally, histamine intolerance is not always triggered by an allergy or infection. Often, simply eating foods that are high in histamines can cause a reaction. Unlike MCAS, histamine intolerance can be improved by following a low-histamine diet. 

If you think you might have MCAS or histamine intolerance, it's important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. These conditions can both be debilitating, but with the right care they can be managed. And although they share some similarities, there are also some key differences between them. Now that you know a little more about MCAS and histamine intolerance, you'll be better equipped to discuss your symptoms with your doctor and get the treatment you need.

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