HealthDay News—For young children, 12-week prophylactic treatment with montelukast does not reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections (URIs), according to a study published online Jan. 4 in Pediatrics.

Eran Kozer, MD, from the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zerifin, Israel, and colleagues investigated whether prophylactic treatment with montelukast reduces the incidence and severity of URI in children. A total of 300 healthy children (aged 1–5 years), with no previous history of reactive airway disease, were randomly assigned to receive montelukast (153 children) or a look-alike placebo (147 children) for 12 weeks. Of these, 131 children in the montelukast group, and 129 in the placebo group, completed the 12-week treatment. Parents of recruited children recorded any acute symptoms of URI in their children, and were contacted once a week to collect information regarding the occurrence of acute respiratory episodes. The number of URI episodes was the primary outcome measure.

The investigators found that the number of weeks in which URI was reported was 30.4 and 30.7% in children treated with montelukast and placebo, respectively. None of the secondary variables showed any significant difference between the groups.

“In preschool-aged children, 12-week treatment with montelukast, compared with placebo, did not reduce the incidence of URI,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Merck Sharp & Dohme Israel, which partially funded the study and manufactures montelukast.

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