Review Finds No Link Between Montelukast, Suicide

September 5, 2008

Although media reports have questioned a link between montelukast use and suicide, three randomized trials didn't find that reduced emotional well-being is an adverse effect of the drug, according to a review published online Aug. 29 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

FRIDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Although media reports have questioned a link between montelukast use and suicide, three randomized trials didn't find that reduced emotional well-being is an adverse effect of the drug, according to a review published online Aug. 29 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Janet T. Holbrook, Ph.D., and Raida Harik-Khan, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, reviewed three double-masked controlled trials conducted by the American Lung Association's Asthma Clinical Research Centers (ACRC), which included 1,352 patients with available data on emotional well-being.

Assessing data from Juniper Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaires in the three trials, the authors found no evidence of significant reduction in emotional well-being in adults or children, nor did they find differences among treatment groups. They also write that they found no adverse event reports of suicide, depressive episodes, or psychiatric disturbances in any of the patients receiving the drug.

While acknowledging that these studies can't exclude long-term effects, and patients in clinical trials may be excluded for history of psychiatric problems, "we did not find evidence of a negative effect of montelukast on emotional well-being in any of the three ACRC trials. While our review of ACRC trial data is reassuring, we obviously cannot exclude the possibility of idiosyncratic reactions to montelukast," the authors conclude.

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