The efficacy and safety of montelukast in children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) remain controversial. Therefore, the aims of this systemic review and meta-analysis are to verify this issue and further provide reference for clinical practice.
Seven databases were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) up to September 30, 2019. The literature screening and data extraction were performed by two independent researchers. Adverse reactions from trials were also recorded. Meta-analysis was performed and analyzed heterogeneity. Methodological and evidence quality were followed by to evaluate according to Cochrane handbook.
A total of 4 RCTs including 305 children with mild to moderate OSA were involved. Compared with placebo, we found that oral montelukast (OM) significantly improved polysomnography (PSG) monitoring parameters, typical and relevant symptoms including snoring and mouth breathing, and adenoid morphology in children with OSA. When compared with routine drugs, not only PSG monitoring parameters and adenoid morphology, but also sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)-related questionnaire scores were improved in patients with OSA treated by combination of OM and routine drugs. In addition, compared with single nasal spray of mometasone furoate, the present study also showed that OM combined with nasal spray of mometasone furoate significantly improved PSG monitoring parameters, symptoms of snoring and mouth breathing and reduced tonsil morphology in pediatric OSA. In terms of treatment safety, one study reported adverse reactions of OM such as headache, nausea and vomiting, while no adverse events were reported after OM treatment in another study.
As a classic leukotriene receptor antagonist, montelukast can be used to treat children with mild to moderate OSA in the short term and improve clinical characteristics. The promotion and application of OM in clinic is considered to be a noninvasive option to avoid surgical treatment.