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 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 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.
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.