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Keywords:

  • airway inflammation;
  • asthma;
  • leukotriene antagonist;
  • montelukast;
  • nitric oxide;
  • steroid

Background:  Montelukast has been shown to be effective in controlling the increase in exhaled NO in asthmatic children re-exposed to house dust mite (HDM). This study compared the effect of low dose inhaled budesonide and oral montelukast in preventing the expected relapse of airway inflammation and reactivity in a group of 24 mild asthmatic children allergic to HDM after a brief period of exposure to relevant allergens.

Methods:  Lung function, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) to methacholine (PC20), fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) levels and sputum eosinophilia were evaluated.

Results:  Pulmonary function remained stable. The BHR was unchanged after exposure in the group treated with budesonide, whereas a significant increase (P = 0.028) was observed in the patients receiving montelukast. No significant difference was observed in FeNO levels after exposure to mite antigen in the two groups. In both the groups of asthmatic children we observed a significant increase in sputum eosinophil % after the exposure to mite antigen.

Conclusions:  The significant increase in BHR level observed in the group of children receiving montelukast suggests a more comprehensive effect as disease controller by inhaled steroids than by leukotriene antagonist in allergic asthmatic children re-exposed to relevant allergens.