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Summary

The effect of three forms of sodium cromoglycate (SCG), 20 mg, on allergen-induced early asthmatic responses was examined in ten stable asthmatics. Dose response allergen inhalation tests were performed on five occasions at intervals of from 1 to 2 weeks to determine the provocation concentration producing a 20% reduction (PC20 allergen) in FEV1. Placebo was given before the first and the last tests to determine the reproducibility of responses to allergen over the study period; reduced responsiveness was observed in eight of the ten subjects. Major changes in levels-of specific serum antibodies of the IgE and IgG classes did not serve to explain the changes in bronchial responses although there was a trend which suggested IgG-related desensitization. The observed changes in bronchial responses and antibody levels illustrate the requirement for tests of reproducibility of responses by the use of placebo controls at the beginning and end of a series of allergen inhalation challenges.

SCG as (i) a micronized powder with lactose, (ii) micropellets without lactose, or (iii) an aerosol, were inhaled double-blind, in random order, 5 min before the additional three allergen inhalation tests. PC20 allergen was reduced following SCG in seven subjects; the differences were statistically significant for the group. There was no observed difference in efficacy between the different forms of SCG. In this study, the efficacy of SCG could not be related to age, atopic status, the initial level of allergen-specific IgE antibody, baseline FEV1, level of bronchial responsiveness to inhaled histamine or an effect of SCG on responsiveness to histamine.