Background: Montelukast, a potent leukotriene receptor antagonist, is approved for treatment of both asthma and allergic rhinitis (AR). No studies to date have examined whether montelukast can improve asthma control over a long period of time in patients with seasonal AR and asthma.
Objective: To evaluate asthma control and use of asthma-related medical resources by patients with inadequately controlled mild to moderate persistent asthma and seasonal AR who required addition of montelukast as part of routine care.
Methods: This multicenter, 24-month, pre-post retrospective observational study included patients receiving current inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy (alone or in combination with long-acting beta-agonist [LABA]), who received add-on treatment with montelukast for 12 consecutive months. The incidence of asthma attacks, defined as emergency department visit, hospitalization, or oral corticosteroid use for asthma, was compared for the year before and the year after addition of montelukast to therapy.
Results: For the 696 patients from Italy, Poland, and Spain who were included in the analyses, the proportion of patients experiencing an asthma attack declined from 31.5% in the year before to 10.1% (p < 0.001) the year after addition of montelukast to therapy. Proportions of patients with an asthma-related emergency room visit, hospitalization, and oral corticosteroid use declined from 18.7% to 3.9%, from 5.2% to 1.4%, and from 17.5% to 5.9% (all p < 0.01), respectively. The incidence of these outcomes declined in all three countries, regardless of baseline asthma severity or asthma therapy (ICS alone or ICS + LABA). Important study limitations include the possibility of selection bias or missing medical chart data in this retrospective study design. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of only those patients who remained persistent with montelukast therapy. Therefore, the results of the study are relevant for patients who remain persistent with montelukast therapy.
Conclusions: Addition of montelukast to current ICS therapy improved long-term asthma control and resulted in substantial reductions in asthma-related resource use by patients with mild or moderate persistent asthma and concomitant seasonal AR who were persistent with montelukast therapy in this retrospective observational study.