What is montelukast?

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Generic Name: Montelukast Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is montelukast used for?

Montelukast is used regularly to prevent the wheezing and shortness of breath caused by asthma and decrease the number of asthma attacks. Montelukast is also used before exercise to prevent breathing problems during exercise (bronchospasm). This medication can help decrease the number of times you need to use your rescue inhaler. This medication is also used to relieve symptoms of hay fever and allergic rhinitis (such as sneezing, stuffy/runny/itchy nose).

This medication does not work immediately and should not be used to treat sudden asthma attacks or other breathing problems.

This drug works by blocking certain natural substances (leukotrienes) that may cause or worsen asthma and allergies. It helps make breathing easier by reducing swelling (inflammation) in the airways.

How should I take montelukast?

Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. If you are using the chewable tablets, chew them thoroughly before swallowing. If your child cannot safely chew and swallow them, consult the doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Take this medication at the same time each day. If you are taking this medication for asthma or for both asthma and allergies, take your dose in the evening. If you are taking montelukast to prevent only allergies, take your dose either in the morning or the evening.

If you are taking this medication to prevent breathing problems during exercise, take your dose at least 2 hours before exercise. Do not take more than one dose in 24 hours. Do not take a dose before exercise if you are already taking this medication daily for asthma or allergies. Doing so may increase the risk of side effects.

Do not increase or decrease your dose or stop using this medication without consulting your doctor. Continue to use this medication regularly to keep your asthma under control, even during sudden asthma attacks or periods when you have no asthma symptoms. Continue to also take other medications for asthma as directed by your doctor. This medication works over time and is not meant to relieve sudden attacks of asthma. Therefore, if an asthma attack or other breathing problem occurs, use your quick-relief inhaler as prescribed. You should always have a quick-relief inhaler with you. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Get medical help right away if your asthma symptoms worsen and your quick-relief inhaler is not helping. Tell your doctor promptly if asthma symptoms, breathing problems, allergy symptoms, number of times you use your rescue inhaler persist or worsen.

How do I store montelukast?

Montelukast  is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store montelukast in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of montelukast that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush montelukast down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using montelukast?

Before taking montelukast,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to montelukast or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention phenobarbital and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you more carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking montelukast, call your doctor.
  • you should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways while you are taking montelukast. You should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: agitation, aggressive behavior, anxiety, irritability, unusual dreams, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), depression, difficulty falling asleep or staying sleep, restlessness, sleep walking, suicidal thoughts or actions (thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so), or tremor (uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body). Your doctor will decide if you should continue taking montelukast.
  • if you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition in which a special diet must be followed to prevent mental retardation), you should know that the chewable tablets contain aspartame that forms phenylalanine.

Is it safe to take montelukast during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There isn’t enough information about the safety of using this medication during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication.

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of montelukast?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • skin rash, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
  • mood or behavior changes, anxiety, depression, or thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself;
  • tremors or shaking;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • severe sinus pain, swelling, or irritation;
  • worsening asthma symptoms; or
  • severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache;
  • stomach pain, heartburn, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea;
  • tooth pain;
  • tired feeling;
  • fever, stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, hoarseness; or
  • mild rash.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with montelukast?

Montelukast may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval, especially when using:

  • Clozapine
  • Cobicistat
  • Nilotinib
  • Pixantrone
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Prednisone

Does food or alcohol interact with montelukast?

Montelukast may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug, especially:

  • Grapefruit Juice

What health conditions may interact with montelukast?

Montelukast may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Allergy to aspirin or
  • Allergy to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., celecoxib, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, or Motrin®)—Continue to avoid aspirin or NSAIDs while taking this medicine.
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)—The chewable tablets contain aspartame, which can make this condition worse.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of montelukast for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Allergic Rhinitis

10 mg orally once a day. For asthma, the dose should be taken in the evening. For allergic rhinitis, the time of administration may be individualized to suit patient needs. Patients with both asthma and allergic rhinitis should take only one dose daily in the evening.

Usual Adult Dose for Asthma – Maintenance

10 mg orally once a day. For asthma, the dose should be taken in the evening. For allergic rhinitis, the time of administration may be individualized to suit patient needs. Patients with both asthma and allergic rhinitis should take only one dose daily in the evening.

Usual Adult Dose for Bronchospasm Prophylaxis

10 mg taken orally at least 2 hours before exercise. Additional doses should not be taken within 24 hours of a previous dose. Patients already taking montelukast daily for another indication (including chronic asthma) should not take an additional dose to prevent exercise induced bronchospasm. All patients should have available for rescue a short-acting beta 2 agonist. Daily administration of montelukast for the chronic treatment of asthma has not been established to prevent acute episodes of exercise induced bronchoconstriction.

What is the dose of montelukast for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Allergic Rhinitis:

15 years or older with asthma or allergic rhinitis:
10 mg orally once a day.
6 years to 14 years with asthma or allergic rhinitis:
5 mg chewable tablet orally once a day.
2 years to 5 years with asthma or allergic rhinitis:
4 mg chewable tablet or 4 mg granules orally once a day.
1 year to 2 years with asthma:
4 mg granules orally once a day in the evening.
6 months to 23 months with perennial allergic rhinitis:
4 mg granules orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Asthma – Maintenance

15 years or older with asthma or allergic rhinitis:
10 mg orally once a day.
6 years to 14 years with asthma or allergic rhinitis:
5 mg chewable tablet orally once a day.
2 years to 5 years with asthma or allergic rhinitis:
4 mg chewable tablet or 4 mg granules orally once a day.
1 year to 2 years with asthma:
4 mg granules orally once a day in the evening.
6 months to 23 months with perennial allergic rhinitis:
4 mg granules orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Bronchospasm Prophylaxis

15 years or older:
10 mg taken orally at least 2 hours before exercise.
6 years to 14 years:
5 mg chewable tablet orally at least 2 hours before exercise.

How is montelukast available?

Montelukast is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Granule, Oral: 4 mg.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • stomach pain
  • sleepiness
  • thirst
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • restlessness or agitation

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of montelukast, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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