The prototype cysteinyl leukotriene receptor antagonist, montelukast, is generally considered to have a niche application in the chemotherapy of exercise-induced asthma. It has also been used as add-on therapy in patients whose asthma is poorly controlled with inhaled corticosteroid monotherapy, or with the combination of a long-acting β(2)-agonist and an inhaled corticosteroid.
Recently, however, montelukast has been reported to possess secondary anti-inflammatory properties, apparently unrelated to conventional antagonism of cysteinyl leukotriene receptors. These novel activities enable montelukast to target eosinophils, monocytes, and, in particular, the corticosteroid-insensitive neutrophil, suggesting that this agent may have a broader spectrum of anti-inflammatory
activities than originally thought. If so, montelukast is potentially useful in the chemotherapy of intermittent asthma because most exacerbations of this condition involve respiratory virus infection-triggered inflammatory mechanisms which, to a large extent, involve
airway epithelial cell/neutrophil interactions. The primary objective of this review is to evaluate the role of montelukast in the treatment
of intermittent asthma in children.