Asthma UK community forum

Can Montelukast take longer than 6 weeks to kick in? Is it possibly working for me?

Hi there, I was poorly around the 20th of Sept and had five days of Prednisone and took loads of inhaler for a month afterwards. From the 28th of Sept I started on Montelukast for the first time (having used Fostair and Clenil for a few years).

I was back in for another emergency GP appointment on 2nd Dec as (after trying for five days or so to treat an exacerbation by bringing the inhaler back up to previous levels) I was struggling. That time I had ten days on Prednisone. At that point I thought Montelukast didn't seem to be working, but I did say to the doctor that this time the cough was weird, drier and just a different feeling. I was also less breathless than usual and had a clearer chest at least when seen after the first 5 days of Pred, to the extent that they weren't sure about me needing more (but I did get it and was glad).

Now I'm getting through a new head cold and it's the weirdest feeling ever to have a bit of a cough and it not be out of control. There's no doubt I've had a bit of asthma-y feeling -- some night waking feeling breathless, for example -- but it doesn't feel out of control and the coughing isn't too bad. I've never just had a cold really as an adult and it not get bad without extra medication. It actual feels strange. I'm not certain yet that I'm out of the woods (it could just be that with Montelukast the outbreak will be delayed, as it seemed to be in late Nov/early Dec) but it might be that.

My concern is that I've read various things for how fast Montelukast should work. Some say very fast (so impossible to tell as I was recovering from a bad bout when I started). Some say 12 weeks or so (about right then). Most official-looking information says after 6 weeks if it's not working you shouldn't bother.

If it is true that it has to work in 6 weeks then this miracle head-cold without chest infection is just a coincidence. But can it kick in later, as it seems?

Please say yes, as this would be great news!

7 Replies

I was put on it earlier this year, but as part of a wider treatment for other lung problems. I didn't really track it, but I would say I saw an incremental rather than immediate effect, probably over a few weeks. I'm on all sorts though, but my consultant wanted to hold back on asthma treatment until everything else was looking better so I'm not best placed to say exactly how it works.

But...fingers crossed for you that it is what most people get; just a cold with an annoying cough!

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I'm not sure I understand your comment about Montelukast starting (having been on Fostair and clenil). As I understand it Montelukast is an add on not alternative to inhalers. Are you still taking the same doses pre-Montelukast?

I've been on it for years and I find if I try stopping it the effects are slow to present themselves. Likewise the benefit is slow to see.


Well yes I have Fostair and Clenil but surgery wants me to cut those down and just take Fostair, which I have done. Thanks for your experience with Montelukast.


That makes more sense. The Fostair will do the job of the Clenil anyhow plus it's got a reliever in it that lasts longer than the blue one.

I have exercise related symptoms and I find I'm better on it than off, but it does take a few weeks to notice.


Well yes, originally Fostair was supplemented with Clenil because a GP thought I needed more inhaled steroid. The new GPs disagree but as I still get ill a lot they coldrying me with Montelukast. This is a big experiment.

Thanks for the insight into your experience with Montelukast. I wonder how many weeks though? That makes a big difference to my question, given the timings of these colds I mention.


*coldrying = are trying


I am sorry to hear of all your trouble with Asthma. have you tried to watch your Diet? are you eating enough onions, garlic, carrots and Avocados? they work great on Asthma and also drink much water. Another tip, in Summer go to Spain or Turkey wherever it is very hot. Sunshine and good weather can help your asthma.


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