The Use of Leukotriene Modifying Drugs in Asthma and Other Respiratory Diseases
Only rarely in modern medicine is an entirely new class of drug developed. Recently, a number of drugs that act as leukotriene modifiers (LTM's) have been licensed for use in the treatment of asthma. Airway obstruction in asthma has two key components-bronchoconstriction of airway smooth muscle and airway inflammation. Although a number of mediators are involved in this process, it has been demonstrated that leukotrienes can precipitate both. Leukotrienes are formed in eosinophils, mast cells and neutrophils. LTM's have been shown to attenuate bronchial hyper-reactivity and reduce chemotaxis of inflammatory cells in the asthmatic airway. This article reviews the data from clinical trials of LTM's, discusses their role in asthma therapy and postulates on use in other common respiratory diseases.