Background: The efficacy of montelukast, a specific cysteinyl leukotriene receptor antagonist, in preventing recurrent asthma attacks was evaluated for post-emergency management of acute asthma exacerbation.
Methods: Twenty-two patients with a history of chronic asthma whose symptoms were responsive to an inhaled β-adrenergic receptor agonist in an emergency room setting, were randomized into two groups, those with and those without montelukast (n = 11 for each group). Patients in the montelukast group received an oral dose of 10 mg montelukast before leaving the emergency room following rescue treatment with an inhaled β-adrenergic receptor agonist. Patients in both groups were instructed to use an inhaled β-adrenergic receptor agonist for shortness of breath or dyspnea in post-emergency management. Additional β-adrenergic receptor agonist use, subjective asthma symptoms, sleep impairment, additional emergency visits and/or hospitalization were monitored for 24 hours following the emergency room visit.
Results: In the montelukast group, the need for a rescue β-adrenergic receptor agonist was significantly decreased; 54.5% of patients in the montelukast group required use of β-adrenergic receptor agonist compared with 100% in the non-montelukast group (P < 0.05). The average number of uses of a β-adrenergic receptor agonist was 2.67 ± 3.58 times/24 h in the montelukast group compared with 11.95 ± 3.60 times/24 h in the non-montelukast group (P < 0.01). The average subjective asthma symptom scores were significantly decreased in the montelukast group, whereas no score change occurred in the non-montelukast group. The sleep impairment score was significantly lower in the montelukast group compared with that in the non-montelukast group (P < 0.05). No patients in either group had an emergency visit or hospitalization during this period.
Conclusions: The results demonstrate that montelukast can prevent recurrent asthma exacerbations in the home environment.