Incidence of respiratory disorders like asthma is mainly caused when your air-pathways become narrower. Through a constricted passage, it becomes difficult to inhale and exhale. In the US, more than 24 million people suffer from such conditions. The typical signs of such conditions include wheezing, a tight feeling or pain in the chest area, coughing all through the night, etc. Medications such as singulair are used for the management of such signs associated with bronchitis or asthma. Singulair is a drug widely prescribed to people living with several respiratory conditions. The drug may however pose a few risks, in the form of adverse side effects. You are hence advised to talk to your medical team before starting to take regular doses of singulair.
The generic name form of singulair is known as montelukast. This drug is prescribed chiefly to both minimise and eliminate discomforts related to respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma, etc. At times, it is also used for the treatment of rhinitis (caused by allergic reactions) as well as hay fever (triggered by allergens present in mold, pet gander or mites). However, as allergy-treating drugs are considered much safer to treat allergic conditions like hay fever or allergic-rhinitis, singulair is not commonly used for such conditions. Singulair is also used prior to workout sessions; it is taken to avoid respiratory troubles while you work out.
Use of singulair is known to reduce the dependence on inhalers or other breathing aids. A continued dosage is often prescribed; such prolonged use is needed for this drug to work effectively. The mode of action of singulair involves inhibiting a few microscopic substances such as leukotrienes; these are found naturally in your air-pathways and are likely to trigger allergic reactions as well as asthma or bronchitis. The drug is also capable of treating internal swelling or inflammation of the tissues in the lungs. You however need to remember consumption of these drugs while you are experiencing breathing difficulties and / or amid an asthmatic spell may bring limited / no relief. Your chest physician or the treating doctor will tell you to use a fast-action inhaler if you experience a sudden spell of asthmatic symptoms.
Safe use of singulair
Foremost of all, never hesitate to ask queries to your doctor about how to take singulair safely. As a safety measure, you are advised to read the drug-guide your pharmacist provides every time you go for refilling. This drug is taken orally before or after a meal; its dosage level is usually influenced by your medical condition, body weight, gender and age. If you are asked to buy the chewable form of singulair, chew it well and only then swallow it.
If you are having asthmatic symptoms, you may be advised to take this drug in the evening times. Those who are consuming singulair to prevent respiratory conditions while working out are recommended to take it a couple of hours ahead of your workout time. If you are asthmatic and you have a daily habit of exercising, never take this drug twice. People – at times – may erroneously take this drug in the evenings and another dose before a work out session in the same day; such practices are likely to lead to an overdosed condition. On the other hand, to treat allergic conditions such as rhinitis or hay fever, the dose may be taken either in the evening or morning hours. Thus, in all instances, it is safer to take only one dose per day – i.e., in 24 hours.
Side effects of singulair
This drug is likely to interact with other medications. A few acute side effects of singulair include pain in limbs, tingling sensation, numbness, inflammation, muscular weakness, disruption of speech function (speech stutters), involuntary twitching of muscles, etc. In some people, singulair has caused pain in the sinus region. This drug is unlikely to cause major allergies; but, a few acute reactions it may trigger include – excessive itchiness, feeling dizzy, drowsiness, shortness of breath, gasping, rashes on skin, inflammation of facial parts, etc.
If you notice any of these adverse reactions, it is highly recommended to talk to your treating doctor and seek needful medical attention immediately. As an alternative, you are advised to call 911 or the helpline number of food and drug administration (FDA). If there is a local poison control center, reach out to it as soon as possible and take support on an emergency basis. Those living in a Canadian province are advised to talk to a poison control unit located closer home or call Health Canada promptly.
Added precautions to help avoid likely side effects of singulair
Prior medical conditions as well as ailments of the recent-past can trigger some side effects when you start taking new drugs. It is hence a good practice to share details about disorders, ailments or dysfunction, if any – with your treating physician. You also need to share details about your family’s medical history in order to avoid likely side effects.
People who are currently having (or had) hepatic conditions such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, etc. are advised to talk about the severity of such ailments, persistence of these disorders as well as medications taken as part of treatment plan. Also, if you have had mental disorders or mood related problems, your doctor needs to know about them; these mental conditions may show up as mood shifts or swings, depression, suicidal instincts or keenness to harm others or one’s own self.
Phenylketonuria and intake of the chewable form of singulair
Your pharmacist may advise you not to take the drug if you have a genetic condition called phenylketonuria. This is a congenital condition (often inherited from one’s parents); this condition can lead to the build-up of phenylalanine. Singulair – especially, it chewable form – is likely to possess a substance called as aspartame, which has similar properties as phenylalanine. This substance is essential for the formation of proteins. An over-optimal presence of it in blood can impair your overall wellbeing, and more specifically, affect cognitive abilities, trigger convulsions as well as a few mental or psychiatric problems. So, those who are already living with this inherited disorder need to stay away or minimise the intake of singulair. Your pharmacist as well as your treating doctor can help keep these risks away by prescribing safer alternatives or recommend dosages of singulair well within safer limits.
Likely interactions of singulair with other drugs and possible side effects
Interactions among medications – while being co-administered – are a common occurrence. Some of these interactions may turn into near-fatal or fatal in a few instances. So, it is important to share all the medications that you are currently taking as well as treatment plans that you are presently pursuing. As an additional safety measure, you are advised to make a list of all drugs you are taking. As you compile this list, ensure that you have included all possible forms of drugs – i.e., over the counter (OTC) meds, prescription medications, herbal medicines, dietary aids or supplements, vitamins, nutraceuticals, etc.
Once you have shared this list with your treating physician, never stop, add or reduce the strength of any of the drugs. This is because, your doctor and pharmacist will prescribe a safe dosage level of singulair based on the other drugs you currently take and their dosing levels. So, changes made to the drugs already taken (i.e., without informing your medical team) are sure to upset the assumptions and calculations to arrive at a safe dosage level of singulair.
Other safety precautions linked to the safer intake of singulair
This drug may interact or lose its efficacy when exposed to excessive levels of sunlight or moisture. So, never store it near an open window. Also, it is not a good practice to store singulair in your bathrooms. You must never share it with a family member or a friend at work who may have same respiratory problems as you. This can lead to many dangerous side effects. It is mainly because singulair has been prescribed to you after a thorough assessment of your respiratory problems and after considering other factors such as your overall wellbeing, age, gender, etc. Hence, it can lead to near-fatal outcomes if you share this med with someone who has similar allergic signs or is experiencing asthmatic attacks. For almost the same reason, it is important to keep singulair beyond the reach of your pets, younger adults or children.
Risks of an overdose of singulair and possible side effects
It is probable that at times one may forget to take a dose of singulair. If you have forgotten a dose, it is not a good practice to double the dosage level to make up for the missed dose. This practice is very likely to lead to an overdosed condition. The right way to handle a missed dose is to skip the dose you missed, wait for your next dose, and take it in a regular manner – i.e., without doubling it. People who consumed an overdose of singulair reported many adverse side effects. Some of them include dehydration, restless state of mind, fidgeting, severe abdominal discomforts such as persistent spells of vomiting, nausea, indigestion, etc.
Administration of singulair to pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding
In general, women who are pregnant and those who are planning to become pregnant need to consult their doctor before starting to take any new drugs. Drugs such as singulair are taken only if there is an absolute need for it. If possible, you are advised to avoid taking it during pregnancy; especially, at the advanced stages or months before delivery.
This drug is considered unsafe for women who are breastfeeding. It is because of its ability to pass through breastmilk. Infants who feed on such milk may develop side effects such as sleeping disorders, feeding problems, crying very often, dizziness, etc. Your doctor may hence advise you to stay away from taking this drug. If you had been taking this drug for some time, it is a good practice to stop it for at least 15 days (i.e., a minimum of 2 weeks) prior to starting to breastfeed your baby. You are also advised to talk to a qualified physician if this drug needs to be necessarily taken while you are nursing an infant. In some instances, your medical team can help by prescribing safer alternatives.
In sum, singulair is taken to control discomforts associated with bronchitis or asthma. This drug is also taken before workouts to minimise risks of respiratory troubles while exercising. Some of the serious side effects of this drug are stuttering of speech, swelling, weakness, twitching, etc. A few allergic reactions singulair may trigger are drowsiness, gasping for breath, itchiness, dizziness and rashes. If you witness one or more of these side effects, immediately talk to your treating doctor and seek medical help. You may also contact 911 or a local poison control center as quickly as possible.