Do Asthma Drugs Give You Nightmares?

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Asthma can be a frightening and taxing thing to live with. This inflammatory lung disease affects some 25 million people in the United States alone, and it can be life threatening if not treated properly. Asthma constricts the airways and causes severe coughing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. Many treatments have been developed over the years, but one that gained a lot of publicity was Montelukast. This oral medication was recommended by many doctors, but now reports are coming out that it could have serious psychological side effects, including nightmares. Let’s explore the facts regarding this controversial medication and provide some recommendations so you can make the best decisions regarding asthma treatment.

 

What is Montelukast?

Montelukast is the generic name for Singulair, an oral asthma medication. Montelukast belongs to a class of drugs called selective leukotriene receptor antagonists, which block the action of a type of fatty molecule called leukotrienes. These molecules are released during an asthma attack and are actually what causes the bronchoconstriction that makes it difficult for people with asthma to breathe during an attack.

But what triggers an asthma attack in the first place? Attacks can occur as a result of exposure to allergens, airborne chemicals, smoke, or due to cardiovascular exertion (running or exercising too hard, etc). When one of these things triggers an attack, leukotrienes are released and trigger the inflammatory response which causes the airways to close. Breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and panic can set in. Taking montelukast medications like Singulair can prevent attacks by preventing the leukotrienes from triggering the inflammatory response. Dosage for montelukast will depend on the patient’s age.

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