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Allergol Int. 2010 Jun;59(2):185-92. doi: 10.2332/allergolint.09-OA-0112. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Antitussive effects of the leukotriene receptor antagonist montelukast in patients with cough variant asthma and atopic cough.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, National Hospital Organization Kanazawa Medical Center, Toyama, Japan.



Chronic cough is the only symptom of cough variant asthma (CVA) and atopic cough (AC). Cysteinyl leukotriene receptor antagonists have been shown to be effective in CVA, but there are no reports on their effectiveness in AC. To evaluate the antitussive effect of montelukast, a leukotriene receptor antagonist, in CVA and AC.


Seventy-five patients with chronic cough received diagnostic bronchodilator therapy with oral clenbuterol hydrochloride for 6 days. Of the 75 patients, 48 and 27 met the simplified diagnostic criteria for CVA and AC, respectively. Patients with CVA were randomly divided into 3 groups: montelukast, clenbuterol, and montelukast plus clenbuterol. Patients with AC were randomly divided into 2 groups: montelukast and placebo. The efficacy of cough treatment was assessed with a subjective cough symptom scale (0 meant "no cough" and 10 denoted "cough as bad as at first visit"). The cough scale, pulmonary function test, and peak expiratory flow rate (PEF) were evaluated before and after 2 weeks of treatment.


In patients with CVA, 2-week treatment with montelukast, clenbuterol, and montelukast plus clenbuterol all significantly decreased cough scores and treatment with montelukast plus clenbuterol was superior to treatment with montelukast alone. In the montelukast plus clenbuterol group, PEF values in the morning and evening significantly increased after 2 weeks compared with values before treatment. In patients with AC, scores on the cough scale did not differ significantly between the montelukast group and the placebo group.


Montelukast was confirmed to suppress chronic non-productive cough in CVA, whereas it was not effective in non-productive cough in AC.

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