Brand names include APO-Montelukast; Lukair; Montelair; Montelukast; Montelukast APOTEX; Montelukast GH; Montelukast Lupin; Montelukast Mylan; Montelukast Sandoz; Respikast; Singulair
HOW DOES MONTELUKAST HELP ASTHMA?
These non-steroid preventer tablets are a common option for children. They can also be used to help exercise-related asthma or hay fever.
Montelukast works by blocking substances in the lungs called leukotrienes. Leukotrienes cause narrowing and swelling of airways. Blocking leukotrienes improves asthma symptoms and helps prevent asthma attacks. Leukotrienes also cause allergic rhinitis symptoms. By blocking leukotrienes, the medication improves seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Montelukast starts to work within a day but can take days to weeks of consistent use to show improvement.
HOW DO YOU TAKE MONTELUKAST?
Montelukast comes as a chewable, flavoured tablet. This makes it a good option for young children who refuse or find it difficult to use inhalers.
WHY MIGHT YOU NEED MONTELUKAST?
Montelukast is a non-steroidal option which is commonly used in young children. It can also be used to help exercise-related asthma or treat hay fever.
In some cases, it might be used as an add-on treatment for an adult with severe asthma, however is not PBS subsidised for adults.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF MONTELUKAST
Side effects are uncommon but may include
- muscle or joint pain,
- gastrointestinal disturbances,
- headache and/or psychiatric effects such as agitation
- sleep disturbance and depression.
In an April 2018 safety review, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration concluded there was an association between Montelukast and psychiatric side effects. These might include agitation, sleep disturbances and depression, or in rare cases, suicidal thinking, and behaviour. Even though these side effects are rare, they can be extremely worrisome.
We recommend parents watch for mood, behaviour, or sleep changes in their children after starting this treatment. Usually, these will be seen in the first two weeks and if so, visit your doctor. If your child develops suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviours, seek medical attention urgently.
Montelukast is usually commenced as a trial prescription and should be reviewed after four to six weeks of starting. We recommend discussing your concerns with your doctor at the point of prescription. You can also visit this website Therapeutic Goods Administration to get more information.
INTAL AND INTAL FORTE
Commonly known as a ‘cromone.’
HOW DO INTAL AND INTAL FORTE HELP ASTHMA?
Intal and Intal Forte are non-steroid preventer inhalers that works by reducing the inflammation of the airways which occurs in asthma. They may be used in mild allergic and exercise-related asthma but are less effective than corticosteroid preventers at controlling asthma and improving lung function.
HOW DO YOU TAKE INTAL AND INTAL FORTE?
Using your preventer properly is vital to get the medication to your lungs where it is needed. This is true no matter what type of inhaler you are using.
Use a spacer with your Intal or Intal forte puffer.
To make sure you are using your Intal or Intal forte puffer correctly see: https://asthma.org.au/about-asthma/medicines-and-devices/techniques/
Intal and Intal Forte are quite sticky and can block the inhaler. To prevent this, wash and dry the plastic casing of the inhaler daily.
WHY MIGHT YOU NEED INTAL OR INTAL FORTE?
Cromones such as Intal or Intal Forte are rarely prescribed to manage asthma in adults. This is because they are less effective than corticosteroid preventers.
They may be considered for people who:
- choose not to take corticosteroid preventers
- cannot tolerate corticosteroids preventers
- people with symptoms limited to exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF INTAL AND INTAL FORTE
Side effects are rare, but may include:
- abdominal pain and nausea, and
- unpleasant taste.
Side effects can be reduced by using a spacer with the device.
Rinse, gargle, and spit after use. This will reduce the risk of side effects in your mouth and throat.