Leukotriene Inhibitors

Leukotriene inhibitors are a class of medications used for the treatment of asthma and allergies, such as allergic rhinitis.

Leukotrienes are chemical signals created by the body's immune system that can lead to inflammation and constriction of the airways. Medications that block creation or effects of leukotrienes can help to reduce inflammation.

There are several brands of leukotriene inhibitors (or modifiers) available, including:

  • Accolate® (zafirlukast)
  • Singulair® (montelukast)
  • Zyflo® (zileuton)

Inhaled corticosteroids are often preferred to provide long-term control of asthma symptoms, but some individuals with asthma respond particularly well to leukotriene inhibitors. 

In the treatment of persistent asthma, medical studies have shown leukotriene inhibitors to be more effective than placebo, but less effective than inhaled corticosteroids.

For the treatment of exercise-induced asthma, leukotriene inhibitors are as effective as long-acting bronchodilators (LABAs) and are superior to placebo.

For the treatment of allergic rhinitis, leukotriene inhibitors are as effective as antihistamines, but are less effective than intranasal corticosteroids.

Leukotriene inhibitors may also be used for the treatment of other allergy or immune disorders, such as atopic dermatitis, aspirin-intolerant asthma, and chronic idiopathic urticaria ("chronic hives").

This medication may provide better symptom relief for some individuals than others. There a several factors involved in deciding to treat with a leukotriene inhibitor, including the type of asthma or allergic condition being treated, its severity, your response to previous treatments, and your personal medical history.

Leukotriene inhibitors have minimal side effects and are generally well tolerated.

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Last updated: 5/13/2022