Montelukast for the treatment of asthma in the adult population Journal Articles uri icon

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  • INTRODUCTION: Asthma is a complex process that results from airway inflammation and manifests as bronchoconstriction. Infiltration of the airway mucosa and lumen by activated inflammatory cells, along with release of mediators, can occur extensively. Chemical mediators known as leukotrienes are believed to play a major role in this process. At present, inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are the pharmacologic cornerstone of asthma management. However, asthma control may remain suboptimal when relying on ICS because of problems with compliance, poor inhaler technique and concerns about the side effects of steroids; additional agents are often required to control symptoms. Leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRA), namely montelukast, provide a safe and effective additional anti-inflammatory treatment option. There is particular benefit for patients with asthma and concomitant allergic rhinitis. AREAS COVERED: Montelukast has been well studied through rigorous clinical trials. A thorough review of the literature has been undertaken to assess the evidence supporting the use of LTRAs. This review focuses on the role of montelukast not only as monotherapy but also as add-on therapy to ICS in the adult asthma population, as well as adult asthmatics with concomitant allergic rhinitis. In addition, there is often some discrepancy between the evidence generated in the idealized asthma patients recruited into randomized clinical trials and results obtained in the real-life setting. This review assesses recent clinical trials evaluating the real-life evaluation of montelukast, achieved mainly through open-label observational studies. EXPERT OPINION: Oral LTRA bring remarkable ease of anti-inflammatory treatment administration and symptom improvement with minimal side effects to the management of adult asthma. Basic asthma mechanisms and much-valued scientific groundwork has been identified by exploring target asthma treatment with anti-leukotriene therapy. This will have a significant impact in the future development of targeted asthma therapies as well as the current management of asthma and other inflammatory medical conditions.


  • McIvor, Andrew
  • Amlani, Salima
  • Nadarajah, Thanu
  • McIvor, Richard Andrew

publication date

  • September 2011