Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Research Notes and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

The effects of topical sodium cromoglicate on itch and flare in human skin induced by intradermal histamine: a randomised double-blind vehicle controlled intra-subject design trial

Alan M Edwards1*, Michael T Stevens2 and Martin K Church3

Author Affiliations

1 The David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre, St Mary's Hospital, Newport. PO30 5TG. Isle of Wight. UK

2 EMStat Ltd., 191, Markfield Lane, Newtown Linford, Leicestershire LE67 9PQ. UK

3 Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Allergie-Centrum-Charité, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, GERMANY and School of Infection, Inflammation and Repair, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD. UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:47  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-47

Published: 7 March 2011



Itch is a prominent feature of many skin diseases, particularly atopic dermatitis and cutaneous mastocytosis. Sodium cromoglicate (SCG), a chromone developed for the treatment of allergic disease has been shown to reduce the severity of itch when applied topically to subjects with atopic dermatitis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether topical sodium cromoglicate can reduce the severity of itch induced by intradermal histamine.


SCG was introduced into the skin of healthy volunteers both by iontophoresis and by topical application using a new 4% cutaneous emulsion (Altoderm™). The skin was then challenged with intradermal histamine. Measurements were made of severity of itch, size of wheal and flare and change in blood flux


SCG significantly reduced the severity of itch (P = 0.0045) and flare (P = 0.0143) when delivered by iontophoresis. SCG 4% cutaneous emulsion significantly reduced severity of itch (P = 0.024) and flare (P = 0.015) in atopic subjects. Trend analysis showed increasing effect on itch with increased concentrations of SCG, which was significant (P = 0.046). There were no effects on wheal or blood flux.


Topically applied SCG, administered in a new cutaneous emulsion base, significantly reduced the itch and flare caused by intradermal histamine. The effect was greatest in atopic subjects and increased with the concentration of SCG in the emulsion.

Trial registration