Montelukast use-a 19-year nationwide drug utilisation study

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2017 Oct;73(10):1297-1304. doi: 10.1007/s00228-017-2286-3. Epub 2017 Jun 22.


Purpose: Montelukast is a leukotriene receptor antagonist used in asthma and rhinitis treatment. Despite being marketed nearly two decades ago, little is known about its utilisation pattern.

Methods: Using the Danish National Prescription Registry, we identified subjects filling a montelukast prescription between 1998 and 2017. Using descriptive statistics, we reported the development in incidence, and prevalence, as well as a measure of treatment duration, and concomitant use of asthma- or anti-allergic therapy.

Results: We identified 147,247 individuals filling 1,327,489 montelukast prescriptions. A total of 54,349 users (37%) filled only one montelukast prescription. The prevalence increased from 0.9/1000 persons in 1998 to 3.3/1000 persons in 2016. The rate of new users reached its maximum of 2.1/1000 person-years in 2009. Among new montelukast users, 28% were still users after 1 year. Among all montelukast initiators, 60% filled at least one prescription of short-acting beta-2-agonists (SABA) up to a year prior to montelukast initiation, and 49% filled a prescription of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Only 0.8% (n = 1148) of all individuals initiated montelukast without a redeemed prescription of short- or long-term inhalation therapy, systemic antihistamines, or nasal topical anti-allergic treatment.

Conclusions: The usage of montelukast has increased over threefold since its market entry in 1998, mainly driven by an increased number of prevalent users. The majority of individuals who initiated montelukast filled a prescription of SABA up to a year prior to montelukast initiation, whereas almost half filled a prescription of ICS.

Keywords: Asthma; Montelukast; Pharmacoepidemiology.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / administration & dosage
  • Acetates / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Denmark
  • Drug Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Quinolines / administration & dosage
  • Quinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Sulfides


  • Acetates
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Quinolines
  • Sulfides
  • montelukast