Impact of montelukast and fluticasone on quality of life in mild pediatric sleep apnea

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2019 Oct;125:66-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2019.06.027. Epub 2019 Jun 26.


Objectives: Research has shown improvement in apnea-hypopnea index in children with mild obstructive sleep apnea treated with anti-inflammatory medications. Data on quality of life outcomes in children receiving these medications is lacking. We aim to assess quality of life in children with mild obstructive sleep apnea treated with montelukast and fluticasone.

Methods: Children between 3 and 16 years old with mild sleep apnea (apnea-hypopnea index > 1 and ≤ 5) presenting to a pediatric otolaryngology clinic were recruited prospectively and treated with 4 months of montelukast and fluticasone. Subjects' caregivers completed the OSA-18, a validated quality of life survey, at baseline and 4 months. Children with ongoing obstruction at follow-up underwent adenotonsillectomy.

Results: Thirty-one patients were included. Mean (SD) age was 6.8 (3.9) years. Most subjects (54.8%) were black and 48% were obese. Mean (SD) apnea-hypopnea index of the subjects was 2.8 (1.0). The mean (SD) baseline OSA-18 score was 60.2 (18.5), indicating a moderate impact of sleep disturbance on quality of life. Following treatment, there was significant improvement (p < 0.005) in mean OSA-18 score. Four children discontinued montelukast due to behavioral side effects. Seven children (22%) underwent adenotonsillectomy after failing medical therapy. Demographic factors such as obesity [OR 0.63 (0.11, 3.49)] and apnea hypopnea index [OR 1.38 (0.59, 3.66)] failed to predict which children would respond to anti-inflammatory medications.

Conclusions: Children with mild obstructive sleep apnea treated with montelukast and fluticasone experience significant improvements in quality of life. Further research is needed to determine optimal duration of therapy.

Keywords: Fluticasone; Montelukast; Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea; Quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / therapeutic use*
  • Adenoidectomy
  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Female
  • Fluticasone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Quinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / surgery
  • Sulfides
  • Tonsillectomy


  • Acetates
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Quinolines
  • Sulfides
  • Fluticasone
  • montelukast