Protection against exercise-induced bronchoconstriction by montelukast in aspirin-sensitive and aspirin-tolerant patients with asthma


Professor Andrzej Szczeklik, 31–066 Kraków, ul. Skawinska 8, Poland. E-mail:


Background Montelukast, a cysteinyl-leukotriene receptor antagonist, was reported to have a protective effect against exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Aspirin-induced asthma (AIA) is characterized by overproduction of cysteinyl-leukotrienes.

Objective The aim of the study was to compare the response to exercise and the effect of montelukast on EIB in AIA as compared to aspirin-tolerant asthma (ATA).

Methods A placebo-controlled, double blind, cross-over randomized study was performed in 19 AIA and 21 ATA patients with stable asthma. A single dose of montelukast (10 mg) or placebo (PL), was given orally one hour prior to exercise challenge. FEV1 was measured before and 5, 10, 15 min after exercise and then at 15-minute intervals for 4 h. Urinary LTE4 excretion and blood eosinophil count were measured at baseline, 2 h and 4 h following exercise challenge.

Results Positive bronchial response to exercise was observed in 47.5% of all patients studied. Exercise led to almost identical maximal fall in FEV1 in AIA and ATA patients (23.5% ± 6.8% vs. 21.8% ± 12.0%, respectively; P = 0.7). Montelukast, as compared to PL, significantly attenuated EIB in 63.2% of 19 patients with positive exercise test preceded by PL. The mean of maximum fall in FEV1 from the pre-exercise value was 10.2% ± 13.8 after montelukast as compared to 22.5% ± 10.2 after placebo (P < 0.001). No significant differences between protective effect of montelukast was observed in AIA as compared to ATA patients (P = 0.63, anova). Urinary LTE4 excretion showed no change following exercise, irrespective of the result of the test in all subjects.

Conclusion Patients with AIA and ATA react similarly to exercise challenge and obtain similar protection against EIB by montelukast.