What Is Zafirlukast Used For?
Many people wonder, "What is zafirlukast used for?" Zafirlukast is used for preventing asthma attacks in adults and children as young as five years old. Sometimes, healthcare providers may also prescribe zafirlukast for the treatment of allergies (which is one of the drug's "off-label" uses).
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 very 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. It causes asthma symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing.
While there is no asthma cure, asthma 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 asthma attacks. Zafirlukast is a controller medication, used to help prevent asthma attacks (but not to treat an attack). Everyone who takes zafirlukast for asthma should also have a rescue medication (such as an albuterol inhaler) available for emergencies.
Zafirlukast is part of a group of medications called leukotriene modifiers. Leukotrienes are chemicals produced by the body in response to allergens or other problems. In the lungs, leukotrienes cause swelling and inflammation in the airways and constriction of the muscles of the respiratory tract.
Zafirlukast works by blocking leukotriene receptors, which prevents leukotriene chemicals from causing asthma symptoms.