Objective: To provide a comprehensive review of studies that evaluate the effects of leukotriene receptor antagonists in adult chronic asthma.
Data sources: A literature search using MEDLINE, Clinical Evidence, and the Cochrane Library was performed using the following keywords: randomized controlled trial, asthma, cysteinyl leukotriene, leukotriene receptor antagonist, antileukotriene, montelukast, zafirlukast, pranlukast, inflammation, lung function, exacerbations, and symptoms.
Study selection: Relevant peer-reviewed articles (mostly randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and reviews) published up to July 2006 were selected and extracted.
Results: Leukotriene receptor antagonists are beneficial across a range of asthma severities and may have a particular role in exercise-induced asthma, aspirin-sensitive asthma, and individuals with concomitant allergic rhinitis.
Conclusion: In the management of chronic asthma, leukotriene receptor antagonists have emerged as a useful oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory adjunct both as monotherapy and in combination with other classes of drugs. Monitoring their effects in terms of lung function alone may result in clinicians missing beneficial effects on inflammatory biomarkers, airway hyperresponsiveness, and exacerbations.