Addition of montelukast or salmeterol to fluticasone for protection against asthma attacks: a randomized, double-blind, multicenter study Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: For patients whose asthma is uncontrolled with low-dose inhaled corticosteroids, addition of alternative therapy instead of increasing the steroid dose is recommended by current treatment guidelines. OBJECTIVE: To compare montelukast, a once-daily leukotriene receptor antagonist, and salmeterol, a twice-daily, long-acting beta-agonist, concomitantly administered with inhaled fluticasone, according to the percentage of patients without an asthma attack for 1 year. METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, multicenter study was conducted. Adult patients with moderate-to-severe persistent asthma (ages 14-73 years) receiving inhaled fluticasone (220 microg/d) who remained symptomatic during a 4-week run-in period were randomized to the addition of salmeterol (84 microg/d) or montelukast (10 mg/d) for 48 weeks. RESULTS: Of the 1,473 randomized patients, 743 were randomized to montelukast and 730 to salmeterol; 1,059 patients completed the study. Eighty percent of patients in the montelukast group and 83.3% of patients in the salmeterol group remained attack free during the 48 weeks of treatment (relative risk, 1.20; 95% confidence interval, 0.96-1.49). Montelukast significantly reduced blood eosinophil counts compared with salmeterol, whereas salmeterol significantly increased prealbuterol forced expiratory volume in 1 second, asthma-specific quality of life, morning peak expiratory flow rate, and decreased nocturnal awakenings compared with montelukast. Differences between treatments were small, and both treatments were generally well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: Addition of montelukast or salmeterol to an inhaled corticosteroid similarly protected most patients from experiencing an asthma attack during a 1-year period, but, based on noninferiority limits, the study was inconclusive with regard to a difference between treatment groups.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Ilowite, J., Webb, R., Friedman, B., Kerwin, E., Bird, S. R., Hustad, C. M., & Edelman, J. M.

citation count

  • 53

publication date

  • June 2004


  • Acetates
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Albuterol
  • Androstadienes
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Asthma
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Fluticasone
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • History, 16th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quinolines
  • Salmeterol Xinafoate
  • Treatment Outcome