Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists (LTRAs) are a class of oral medication that is not a steroid and constitute a preventative therapy for asthma. They may also be referred to as anti-inflammatory bronchoconstriction preventors. LTRAs work by blocking a chemical reaction that can lead to inflammation in the airways. The medication comes in different once-daily forms - tablet, chewable tablets or granules - and has few side effects.
To see the mechanism of action of leukotriene receptor antagonists, please view the presentation by clicking here.
Q: What are leukotrienes?
A: Leukotrienes are chemical compounds that are released during the inflammatory process. They are chemical messengers that help protect the body against attacks by invaders. However, when they are a part of an allergic response, leukotrienes cause airway obstruction, mucous production, and swelling of the airways. Leukotriene modifiers block the action or production of leukotrienes, and subsequently inhibit the inflammatory process. Two types of leukotriene-based medications have been developed: leukotriene inhibitors that interfere with the actual synthesis of leukotrienes, and leukotriene antagonists that block the action of leukotrienes by interfering with receptor sites.
Q: Who should take LTRAs?
A: In the 1999 Asthma Consensus Guidelines and 2003 Updates, LTRAs are classified as medication that may be useful as add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids or as single agents in the management of asthma for patients who cannot or will not use inhaled corticosteroids.
Q: Are LTRAs safe for children?
A: Montelukast is the only LTRA that has been studied in children. It is indicated for pediatric patients two years of age and older with few side effects. For more detailed information on pediatric side effects, please talk to your doctor.