Singulair is a leukotriene inhibitor. These are the chemicals that the body releases when we breathe in an allergen. Leukotrienes cause swelling in the lungs and tightening of the muscles around the airways, which often results in asthma symptoms.
Unlike other allergy medications, Clarinex and Zyrtec for example, Singulair is also used as a long-term (maintenance) treatment to prevent or treat asthma in adults and children as young as 12 months old. However, Singulair does not treat an asthma attack that has already begun – this is what fast-acting inhalation medications are for. Singulair simply would not work fast enough to reverse the symptoms. It may take up to a few weeks to notice improvement in your asthma symptoms with this medication.
The latest National Asthma Education and Prevention Program clinical practice guidelines classified leukotriene receptor antagonists (singulair among others) though as an alternative treatment for children with persistent asthma. Inhaled corticosteroids should be the initial and preferred treatment, adding on a long-acting inhaled beta2-agonist for those with moderate or severe symptoms.
Singulair prevents exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (narrowing of the air passages in the lungs) in people who are not already taking this medication for other conditions. If you are already using Singulair to treat allergies and prevent asthmatic attacks, you should not use it for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
Make sure you remember that Singular can be taken just once a day. Singulair may be taken with or without food. Children who suffer from allergies can take the drug at any convenient time while the children with asthma should take the drug in the evening. For infants, Singulair Oral Granules can be dissolved in a teaspoon of infant formula or breast milk or mixed with a spoonful of soft baby food (including applesauce, carrots, rice and ice cream) or it can be placed directly into the child's mouth.
Some of the possible side effects of Singulair are tiredness, fever, stomach pain, upset stomach, intestinal upset, heartburn, dizziness, headache, etc
Singulair users additionally added some of the side effects they had experienced after the long-term use. These are allergic reactions like swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat, hives, and itching as well as some more serious like agitation including aggressive behavior, anxiousness, dream abnormalities and hallucinations, depression, insomnia, irritability and restlessness.
After lowering or stopping oral steroid asthma medications and starting Singulair, patients have reported suffering a rare condition, that includes a combination of certain symptoms which do not go away or get worse, including a flu-like illness, rash, pins and needles or numbness of arms or legs, and severe inflammation of the sinuses
Lately, there have been speculations that Singulair leads to behavioral changes and suicidal thoughts. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing the reported incidents of a three or four patients experiencing mood changes that led to suicidal behavior.
Let’s keep in mind that Singulair is the best selling drug at $4.3 billion in sales with millions of users since its release in 1998. Could it be that the three men out of three million who were considering suicide were also taking Singulair?
Just because a few people taking Singulair attempted suicide does not mean this drug caused the behavioral changes.
Anyway, the FDA advises patients to use the drug as prescribed by their physicians until more is revealed.