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Understanding Allergy and Hay Fever Medications (cont.)

Leukotriene Inhibitors

Montelukast (Singulair) is a leukotriene inhibitor approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for relief of seasonal allergy conditions and hay fever in adults and in children older than 2 years of age.

  • How leukotrienes work: Leukotrienes are chemical substances that promote the inflammatory response seen during exposure to allergens. By keeping these chemicals from producing swelling, leukotriene inhibitors reduce inflammation.


  • Who should not use these medications: The following people should not use leukotriene inhibitors:


    • Those who are allergic to leukotriene inhibitors


    • Those with phenylketonuria (PKU) because the chewable tablets contain aspartame, a component of phenylalanine


  • Use: Leukotriene inhibitors are available (with a prescription) in tablet, chewable tablet, and oral granule forms. Granules may be taken directly in the mouth, or they may be mixed in soft foods like pudding or applesauce. These drugs are taken as a once-daily dose.


  • Drug or food interactions: No drug or food interactions have been reported.


  • Side effects: Leukotriene inhibitors are usually well tolerated and side effects are similar to those of patients taking a placebo (sugar pill). Headache, earache, sore throat, and respiratory infections have been reported.

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