Therapeutic modulation of allergic airways disease with leukotriene receptor antagonists.QJM. 2005 Mar; 98(3):171-82.QJM
Although asthma is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions, it often remains unrecognized and undertreated, while patients are often reluctant to comply with regular inhaled anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator therapy. Allergic rhinitis co-exists with asthma in as many as 40% of patients, and can be regarded as a continuum of the same inflammatory disease process. Corticosteroids are the 'gold standard' first-line treatment for both conditions, and have a significant impact upon underlying inflammation, symptoms and long-term outcome. Cysteinyl leukotrienes are potent airway inflammatory mediators, suggesting that treatment antagonizing their effects could play a role in disease management. In recent years, leukotriene receptor antagonists have provided a further therapeutic option in the management of allergic airways disease. These drugs are orally active, can be administered once daily, and provide a systemic approach to the management of patients with asthma and allergic rhinitis. We review the pharmacology of leukotriene receptor antagonists, their potential role in clinical practice in patients with allergic airways disease, and likely areas for further research.