An asthma doctor’s perspective on montelukast

A cost-benefit analysis is encouraged by weighing results along with any presence of side effects.

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A New York Times report has thrust the asthma drug montelukast (brand name Singulair) into the spotlight for the drug's black box warning of possible neuropsychiatric side effects, including increased symptoms of depression or anxiety and suicidal thoughts among some patients. 

Dr. Ryan Murphy, an asthma specialist at UW Medicine, acknowledged the Food and Drug Administration's warning about montelukast. He also described it as a commonly prescribed drug with a long track record of performing well for many patients. Still, he encourages anyone with concerns about side effects of any medication to weigh the benefits and risks. 

“Do you need to be on this medicine? And if you're getting benefit from it, not having side effects, it seems like that's a good deal. If you're getting some modest benefits but experiencing side effects — what's the cost-benefit analysis there?” he said. “If you're not getting benefit at all, regardless of side effects or not, it's not a medicine you should be taking.” 

Learn more about the asthma medication montelukast in a noteworthy post

Download broadcast-ready soundbites with Murphy on asthma medications and “cost-benefit analysis.” 

UW Medicine