Linear growth in prepubertal asthmatic children treated with montelukast, beclomethasone, or placebo: a 56-week randomized double-blind study

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006 Jun;96(6):800-7. doi: 10.1016/s1081-1206(10)61342-7.


Background: Antileukotrienes and inhaled corticosteroids are asthma controller agents widely used in the treatment of pediatric asthma.

Objective: To evaluate the effects of montelukast and beclomethasone on linear growth in prepubertal asthmatic children for 1 year.

Methods: This was a 30-center study of boys (6.4-9.4 years old) and girls (6.4-8.4 years old) at Tanner stage I with mild, persistent asthma. After a placebo run-in period, 360 patients were randomized in equal ratios to double-blind, double-dummy treatment with 5 mg of montelukast, 200 microg of beclomethasone twice daily (positive control), or placebo for 56 weeks; 90% of the patients completed the study. The primary end point was linear growth velocity, measured using a stadiometer.

Results: Linear growth rates were similar between the montelukast and placebo groups; the mean difference for the year was 0.03 cm. The mean growth rate with beclomethasone was significantly less than with placebo (-0.78 cm) or montelukast (0.81 cm) (P < .001 for both). Median percentage of days with beta-agonist use was greater with placebo (14.58%) vs montelukast (10.55%) or beclomethasone (6.65%) (P < .05 for all). More patients used oral corticosteroid rescue with placebo (34.7%) than with montelukast (25.0%) or beclomethasone (23.5%). An imbalance in bone marker levels was seen with beclomethasone but not with montelukast.

Conclusion: In prepubertal asthmatic children, montelukast did not affect linear growth, whereas the growth rate with beclomethasone was significantly decreased during 1 year of treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Beclomethasone / adverse effects
  • Beclomethasone / pharmacology
  • Body Height / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukotriene Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Quinolines / pharmacology*


  • Acetates
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Leukotriene Antagonists
  • Quinolines
  • Beclomethasone
  • montelukast