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Respir Med. 2001 May;95(5):379-86.

Analysis of montelukast in mild persistent asthmatic patients with near-normal lung function.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, London Chest Hospital, UK.


Few studies have specifically evaluated controller therapy in patients with mild persistent asthma. We used a subgroup analysis to investigate the effects of montelukast, a potent cysteinyl leukotriene receptor antagonist, on adult patients on the milder end of the asthma severity spectrum. We have identified seven double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies of adult patients with mild-to-moderate chronic asthma in which montelukast was investigated. Subsets of patients with baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1) > 80% and > 75% predicted or further restricted by less than daily rescue beta-agonist use were included as four cohorts (A, B, C, D), and efficacy measures, including change in FEV1 rescue-free days, beta-agonist use, nocturnal awakenings and blood eosinophil counts were evaluated. Cohorts A to D comprised 21%, 8%, 11%, and 4%, respectively, of patients from these studies. Mean pretreatment FEV1 ranged from 81% to 84% predicted and daily beta-agonist use from 2.4 to 4.5 puffs day(-1) in the four cohorts. Pooled results demonstrated a treatment effect for montelukast over placebo in all cohorts, for all endpoints. There was a significant improvement in FEV1 in montelukast-treated patients (7-8% over baseline) compared with placebo (1-4% over baseline, between-group difference P < or = 0.02) for all cohorts. Similarly, the percentage of rescue-free days increased substantially more with montelukast (22-30%) than with placebo (8-13%). This subgroup analysis indicates that montelukast produced improvements in parameters of asthma control in patients with milder persistent asthma that should be confirmed in additional prospective trials.

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