Leukotrienes are potent proinflammatory mediators that contract airway smooth muscle, increase microvascular permeability, stimulate mucus secretion, decrease mucociliary clearance, and recruit eosinophils into the airway.1 Two leukotriene modifiers—zafirlukast and zileuton—are currently available as oral tablets for the treatment of asthma. Leukotriene modifiers improve lung function, diminish symptoms, and diminish the need for short-acting b 2 agonists. They are being investigated as an alternative to low-dose inhaled corticosteroid therapy and as steroid-sparing agents. There is currently no indication for the use of leukotriene modifiers in the treatment of acute bronchospasm.
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