Precautions and Warnings With Zafirlukast
There are many important precautions and warnings with zafirlukast, including the safety of taking zafirlukast while pregnant, the risk of liver damage in some people taking the drug, and people who shouldn't take it at all (such as those who are allergic to zafirlukast or any of its components). Among the conditions that you should tell your healthcare provider about before you take zafirlukast are liver disease and any allergies you may have. To reduce the chances of drug interactions, you should also tell your healthcare provider about all other drugs you are taking.
- Liver disease, such as liver failure or cirrhosis
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may be taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Following are some warnings and precautions to be aware of with zafirlukast:
- Zafirlukast can cause liver damage, rarely resulting in liver failure or death. Let your healthcare provider know right away if you have signs of liver problems, such as:
- Upper right abdominal pain (or stomach pain)
- Flu symptoms (such as a fever or chills)
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow eyes or skin
- Dark urine.
Zafirlukast is not recommended for people who already have liver disease.
- Zafirlukast is not a fast-acting asthma medication and cannot replace fast-acting rescue inhalers. Do not use zafirlukast to treat an asthma attack. Everyone taking zafirlukast for asthma should also have a rescue asthma medication available at all times. Let your healthcare provider know if you need to use your rescue inhaler more frequently than usual, as this may be a sign of worsening asthma.
- Some people who are taking an oral steroid may need to decrease or stop the steroid when starting zafirlukast. Your healthcare provider should decrease your dose of oral steroid very slowly. Stopping an oral steroid too quickly can be very dangerous.
- Zafirlukast can interact with certain other medications (see Drug Interactions With Zafirlukast).
- Zafirlukast is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy -- though the full risks are not known. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using zafirlukast during pregnancy (see Accolate and Pregnancy for more information).
- Zafirlukast passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using zafirlukast (see Accolate and Breastfeeding for more information).