Dr. Alan Greene on Albuterol and Singulair

What do you think of Singulair and albuterol for reactive airway disease?

Question

What do you think of Singulair for reactive airway disease? I have a 6-year-old who cannot seem to get over her hacking cough. This fall semester, she has missed 10 days of school. She is on albuterol.

Answer

Albuterol is a great medicine for immediate relief of symptoms, but when kids need to use it more than a couple of times a week, it is much better to be on a preventive medicine. Singulair is one of these -- it is an anti-inflammatory medicine. The generic is called montelukast. There are great step-by-step guidelines for treating asthma in kids. Kids who have a mild, persistent wheezing or cough who need albuterol twice a week are recommended to get either a low-dose steroid inhaler, a cromolyn inhaler, or a leukotrience inhibitor such as Singulair as a daily preventive medicine.

Too many kids just get more and more albuterol, which is not nearly as effective or safe.

 

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