Asthma Home > Zafirlukast

A healthcare provider may prescribe zafirlukast for the prevention of asthma attacks in both adults and children. While the medication cannot treat asthma attacks, it can improve breathing to help prevent attacks from occurring. It comes in tablet form and is usually taken by mouth twice a day. Side effects can include nausea, diarrhea, and infections.

What Is Zafirlukast?

Zafirlukast (Accolate®) is a prescription medication used to prevent asthma attacks in adults and children as young as five years old.
(Click What Is Zafirlukast Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Zafirlukast is made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

How Does Zafirlukast Work?

Zafirlukast is part of a group of drugs 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.

Clinical Effects

In studies using zafirlukast for asthma, people taking the drug had improved breathing and fewer daytime and nighttime asthma symptoms, compared to those not taking it. Zafirlukast was also shown to be safe and effective for treating asthma in children as young as five years old.

When and How to Take Zafirlukast

The following are some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with zafirlukast:
  • Zafirlukast comes in tablet form and is taken by mouth twice daily.
  • The medication should be taken on an empty stomach, at least one hour before or two hours after a meal.
  • Zafirlukast should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
  • For zafirlukast to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. The drug will not work if you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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