What Is Montelukast Used For?
What is montelukast used for? The medication is approved to prevent asthma attacks (including those brought on by exercise) and nasal allergies. It can be given to children as young as six months, and comes in chewable and granule forms, which may be easier for young children to take. Montelukast is used for off-label reasons, too -- in particular, allergies other than nasal-related ones.
Montelukast sodium (Singulair®) is a prescription medication used to treat the following conditions:
- Asthma, including exercise-induced asthma (also known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction)
- Allergic rhinitis (irritated, stuffy, itchy, or runny nose due to allergies).
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating (see Asthma Triggers). When the airways react, they narrow, and less air flows to your lungs. This is called bronchospasm and causes asthma symptoms, including:
- Wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe)
- Tightness in the chest
- Trouble breathing.
Exercise is often a trigger for asthma symptoms. Exercise-induced asthma, also sometimes called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, is the narrowing of the airways in the lungs that can occur during exercise, making it difficult to breathe. Typical symptoms include shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing during or shortly after exercise.
While there is no asthma cure, the condition can be controlled. There are many different asthma treatments, including fast-acting "rescue medications" for treating an asthma attack and longer-acting "controller medications" used to prevent them. Montelukast is a controller medication, used to help prevent asthma attacks, including attacks caused by exercise, but not to treat them. Everyone who takes an asthma medication, including montelukast, should also have a rescue medication (such as an albuterol inhaler) available for emergencies. Montelukast is approved to treat exercise-induced asthma in people age six years and older.