GENERIC NAME: montelukast
BRAND NAME: Singulair
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Montelukast is an oral leukotriene receptor antagonist that is used for the treatment of asthma and seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Leukotrienes are a group of naturally occurring chemicals in the body that promote inflammation in asthma and seasonal allergic rhinitis and in other diseases in which inflammation is important (such as allergy). They are formed by cells, released, and then bound to other cells that cause inflammation. It is the binding to other cells that stimulates the cells to cause inflammation. Montelukast works in a manner similar to zafirlukast (Accolate), blocking the binding of some leukotrienes to the cells that cause inflammation. Unlike zafirlukast, montelukast does not inhibit CYP2C9 or CYP3A4, two enzymes in the liver that are important in breaking down and eliminating many drugs. Therefore, unlike zafirlukast, montelukast is not expected to affect the elimination of other drugs. The safety and effectiveness of montelukast has been demonstrated in children as young as 6 months of age. It was approved by the FDA in 1998.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Montelukast is used for the treatment of asthma, seasonal allergic rhinitis, and prevention of exercise induced bronchospasm (narrowing of airways). Montelukast begins working after 3 to 14 days of therapy; It should not be used for the treatment of an acute asthmatic attack.
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