Leukotriene antagonists are medicines used to prevent asthma symptoms. You take this medicine every day even if you are not having symptoms. This medicine is called a controller medicine because when itâ€™s taken regularly every day, it helps to control symptoms.
Leukotriene antagonists do not give quick relief of wheezing in acute asthma attacks. For acute attacks, you need a different type of medicine called a reliever.
This medicine may also help control a stuffy or runny nose caused by an allergy.
Asthma symptoms are caused by 2 different problems in the airways.
One problem is that the muscles in the airways tighten up, which causes the feeling of chest tightness and wheezing.
The other problem is swelling, irritation, and too much mucus in the airways.
Asthma symptoms often start after exposure to a trigger. Asthma triggers can include pollen, animals, mold, colds, exercise, cold air, and air pollutants. Itâ€™s important to know what things trigger your asthma symptoms so that you can try to avoid them. You should keep your reliever medicine with you at all times in case you have an asthma attack.
How does it work?
Your body makes chemicals called leukotrienes. These chemicals make the airways tighten up. They also cause irritation and swelling of the lining of the airway. Leukotriene antagonist medicine blocks the effects of leukotrienes so you have less irritation, swelling, and muscle tightness. Then you will have fewer symptoms and be able to breathe better.
Leukotriene antagonists are available as pills, chewable tablets, extended-release tablets, or granules that can be mixed with food.
What else do I need to know about this medicine?
Follow the directions that come with your medicine, including information about food or alcohol. Make sure you know how and when to take your medicine. Do not take more or less than you are supposed to take.
Try to get all of your prescriptions filled at the same place. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your medicines are safe to take together.
Keep a list of your medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all of the products you are taking.
Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause and what you should do if you have side effects.
If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
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Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2011-12-09 Last reviewed: 2013-12-26
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Leukotriene Antagonist: References
UpToDate – â€œTreatment of intermittent and mild persistent asthma in adolescents and adultsâ€ Accessed 11/30/2012
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, Full Report 2007. NIH publication 07-4051. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Aug. 28, 2007. Accessed December 17, 2007 from <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/asthgdln.pdf>
Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR-3): Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma-summary report 2007. J Allergy Clin Immunol 120 (2007):S94-138.
Stevenson DD, Szczeklik A. Clinical and pathologic perspectives on aspirin sensitivity and asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 118 (2006):773-86.