Leukotrienes are chemicals in the body that cause airway constriction, excess mucus production, and inflammation and swelling in the lungs. Leukotriene modifiers prevent these things from happening. Most leukotriene modifiers are taken at least once a day, and depending on the type prescribed, may not have noticeable effects for one week to one month so it is important that you take the medication as prescribed by your physician. Ask a doctor if leukotriene modifiers could help you.
Types of Leukotriene Modifiers
Montelukast (Singulair®) is the only once-a-day leukotriene modifier and is taken orally. Bronchodilator effects may begin within two hours, but the preventive anti-inflammatory effects will not begin for up to one week. Side effects may include headache, fatigue, fever, intestinal symptoms, laryngitis, and/or pharyngitis.
Zafirlukast (Accolate®) is taken orally, and generally is prescribed twice a day. Zafirlukast (Accolate®) should be taken on an empty stomach, one hour before or two hours after a meal. As with Montelukast (Singulair®), bronchodilator effects may begin within two hours, but preventive effects will not begin for up to one week. Side effects may include headache, dizziness, infection, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Zileuton (Zyflo®) is taken orally, generally four times daily when first starting. Depending on your treatment plan, the dosage may be decreased by your doctor. Be sure you do not decrease dosage on your own without consulting your physician, even if you are feeling better. Side effects may include headache, nausea, abdominal pain, or indigestion. Some patients may develop abnormal liver functionality while on this medication. If you have a known liver problem, you should avoid using Zileuton (Zyflo®). Liver function will be monitored if this medication is prescribed.
Contact the Alabama Asthma Center at 205-871-9661 to have a physician match you with the appropriate leukotrine modifier for your asthma symptoms.