Pediatr Res 2003 Aug 7;54(2):198-203. Epub 2003 May 7.
Mathildenstrabetae 1, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.
Previous adult studies demonstrated the clinical efficacy of an additional treatment with leukotriene receptor antagonists on steroid-dependent asthma, but there is little knowledge about anti-inflammatory add-on effects within the lung. In this study, we hypothesized that steroid-treated children exhibit a decrease in bronchial inflammation in induced sputum under additional treatment with montelukast. Twenty-five asthmatic children aged 6 to 14 y, who had been taking inhaled corticosteroids (400-800 microg/d budesonide) regularly for at least 12 wk, were randomized to receive additional treatment with either montelukast (5 mg orally, once daily) or placebo over a 4-wk period. As primary efficacy variable, eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) in induced sputum as direct measurement of bronchial inflammation was assessed before and after treatment. To assure a baseline level of inflammation, an ECP concentration above 100 microg/L was required. Sputum eosinophil count, concentration of exhaled nitric oxide, urinary excretion of eosinophil protein X, and quality-of-life items were considered as secondary outcome variables. After treatment with montelukast, ECP in sputum was significantly reduced (montelukast: median -975 microg/L [5 to 95% confidence interval: -4295 to 583 microg/L]; placebo: 561 microg/L [-1335 to 3320 microg/L]; p < 0.01) and the quality-of-life score had significantly improved (p < 0.05) compared with placebo. Partly explained by low baseline levels, no statistically significant change in concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (p > 0.05), urinary excretion of eosinophil protein X (p > 0.05), or eosinophil count (p > 0.05) was found. In conclusion, add-on treatment with montelukast can suppress sputum ECP in children with steroid-dependent asthma, while at the same time an improvement in quality of life items occurs.