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Airflow Obstruction Improves with Montelukast

Drug associated with less airway inflammation and air trapping

TUESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Asthmatic children treated with an eight-week course of montelukast have better outcomes than those who are not given the therapy, according to a study in the April issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Joseph D. Spahn, M.D., of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, and colleagues conducted a study of 21 patients aged 9 to 18 years with mild-to-moderate asthma who received either a placebo for eight weeks, or daily doses of 5 or 10 mg of montelukast.

Twice a day, the children's symptoms and albuterol use were recorded. They performed exhaled nitric oxide measurement, forced oscillometry, spirometry and body box plethysmography at the start of the study, and again at two, four, six and eight weeks. At the start and end of the study, the researchers obtained circulating eosinophil counts and serum eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) levels.

Patients treated with montelukast had lower residual volume, residual volume-total lung capacity ratio, airway resistance, specific conductance and serum ECP levels than those in the placebo group.

"This is among the first studies to evaluate the effect of montelukast on a variety of variables of lung function impairment in children with asthma," the authors write. "An eight-week course of montelukast resulted in improvement in these measures of airflow obstruction."

The study was funded by a grant from Merck & Co. Inc.

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