In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for montelukast, trade name SingulairTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Montelukast works by blocking chemicals in your body that stimulate or worsen asthma and allergies. Swelling in your airway may decrease, and breathing may become more comfortable and easier.
Montelukast is used to treat and prevent shortness of breath and wheezing caused by asthma. This medication may decrease how often you have asthma attacks.
Montelukast is also used to decrease the symptoms of allergies, such as stuffy/itchy nose and sneezing. Also, this medication may be used to help decrease exercise-induced breathing problems.
Montelukast is usually taken once daily. This medication may be taken with or without food. If you are taking this medication to treat only allergies, you may take it in the morning. If your montelukast dose is to improve asthma symptoms, take this medication in the evening.
When this medication is used only for breathing problems during exercise, take the medication at least 2 hours before the exercise; however, do not take more than 1 tablet in 24 hours.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
To keep your asthma under control, this medication needs to be taken on a regular schedule. Montelukast works over time, and you may not notice a difference for several weeks.
When treating asthma, this medication is commonly only one of a combination of medications. Your doctor may have you take this medication along with a steroid inhaler to help decrease the swelling in your lungs. You may also have a rescue inhaler that is used for urgent breathing difficulties.
If you are also using inhalers, take the time to understand which inhalers are for urgent breathing episodes and which are to be used on a regular basis to prevent breathing problems.
Self-monitoring also includes the use of a Peak Flow Meter. This is a simple device which helps you measure, on your own, how well your lungs are working. If you don’t already use one, discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.
Most Important Warnings (3/20 update)
- Suicidal thoughts or actions have been reported in patients taking this medication. Only use this medication in patients who have inadequate response to alternative therapies. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this.
Warnings & Cautions
- Montelukast does not work immediately and is not effective at treating sudden attacks of asthma.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if montelukast is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, a history of respiratory infections, or any other current medical condition you may have.
- While taking this medication, you may feel some dizziness, headache, possibly some stomach pain and maybe a little tiredness. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you feel any mental or mood changes, numbness in the arms or legs, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or any other unwanted side effect that persists or worsens.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.