Asthma Drug Soothes RSV-Related Cough
Singulair May Help Babies With Common Lung Condition Breathe Easier
WebMD News Archive
The results appear in the Feb. 1 issue of American Journal
of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Babies who were treated with the drug were symptom-free on six
(22%) of the 28 days and nights compared with only one (4%) among those who
received the placebo. Daytime coughing was also significantly reduced among the
In addition, a worsening of symptoms requiring withdrawal from
the study or hospitalization occurred in only four of the infants on Singulair
versus 10 of those on the placebo, and these exacerbations were significantly
delayed in the treated infants.
Experts say these findings clear the way for further studies
into the long-term effectiveness of these types of drugs on RSV-related wheeze
and cough, as well as new ways of fighting RSV itself.
Robert Welliver, MD, professor of pediatrics in the division of
infectious diseases at the Women's and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, says
this is only the first attempt to use this class of drugs to treat RSV-related
complications. And he suspects there might be a much broader application for
"In this study, they only looked at treating infants after
they left the hospital, but this might be treating the wrong end of the
illness," says Welliver. "What if you take high-risk kids and put them
on these drugs to prevent hospitalization? There is a high percentage of kids
with [RSV] who had been in the doctor's office a day or two before they were
Giving these children a leukotriene-inhibitor early on,
Welliver says, might prevent some of the inflammation from occurring in the
Joe Spahn, MD, a pediatrician at National Jewish Medical and
Research Center, agrees that much more study is needed.
This study found only a modest benefit from using Singulair,
but Spahn says RSV-related wheeze involves a very complicated set of variables
that no one really fully understands yet.
He says some people think using inhaled steroids, which are
also frequently used to prevent asthma attacks, might work in treating this
condition. But Spahn says there are just as many studies that say they work as
say they don't.