If like me, you suffer from eczema and allergies and feel like you have tried everything, read on to see if Montelukast may be an option for you to try! A little search on google will show you some links between the asthma drug Montelukast and it’s effect on eczema and allergies.
My eczema and allergies
Having suffered for years with eczema, urticaria and allergies, it’s fair to say I have tried a lot of treatments. From strong potent steroid creams, oral steroids, light therapy, antihistamines, the best moisturisers and dietary restrictions. Whilst over the years I have managed to determine a number of triggers and irritants to avoid, found creams that help day to day and established a good skin care routine, currently as I write this my body is healed, but I still flare on my face. Whilst it’s a far cry from how my skin has been in the past, it still affects me daily.
Improvements to my eczema using Montelukast
Having been literally covered in eczema in the past, what has changed for the skin on my body to now be ok?
My last major flare was during my last pregnancy (Jan 2017) when I stopped using the steroid creams due to the pregnancy. I wasn’t 100% taken on my doctor’s advice that they were okay to use during pregnancy so decided to stop! Unbeknownst to me at the time I was likely going through Topical Steroid Withdrawl (Read up on this here in my blog – What is Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW)?).
Following the birth of my youngest son in October 2017, as my skin was bad I decided to try out the Montelukast that I’d been prescribed pre-pregnancy that I’d not had a chance to take properly. Before getting pregnant I’d taken them for a few months and noticed a slight improvement in that I wasn’t reacting as badly to things like perfume and pollens like I had before. Due to the pregnancy, I stopped taking them (as well as the steroid creams and antihistamines) so the eczema and the itching returned.
What are Montelukast tablets I hear you asking?
Montelukast is a medicine mainly used in the long term treatment for children with asthma. It comes in the form of a tablet that can be swallowed whole, or as a chewable tablet. It’s also available as granules that can be dissolved in liquid or soft food. (I take the 5 mg chewy cherry flavoured tablet daily.)
One thing to note is that some brands and dosages contain lactose so if like me you have an allergy to dairy, ensure that the ones you take, don’t. (I found that the 10mg tablets tended to have it in whereas the 5mg didn’t but please be sure to check first!!)
It is a Leukotriene receptor antagonist, called LTRAs for short. (I know you’re thinking what??) Basically, as I understand it, they work by blocking a chemical reaction that can lead to inflammation. Leukotriene inhibitors, such as Montelukast are medications that can have a huge impact on reducing skin inflammation and for someone like me who not only suffers from eczema but urticaria too, it can help… a lot! These medications can also be effective in treating other allergy-related diseases, such as seasonal allergies. Another bonus for me being allergic to pollen, grass etc!
How is Montelukast helping my eczema?
Having been taking them again for the past 15 months I genuinely feel they have contributed to my skin getting to where it is today. Like I said my face still flares (and I get that really annoying flare in the creases of my arms) but in general, it’s so much better and I’d say manageable. I don’t seem to react as badly to external allergens like peoples perfumes or pollen. The hives have stopped too. Prior to taking these as soon as I’d go in a room with flowers, for example, my face would flare and be covered in hives. Now the reaction isn’t nearly as severe.
What’s the catch?
It’s not all rosey! Now I’ve told you the good bits, it’s only right that I give you the bad bits.
They do have side effects! Like most medications, the leaflet in the packet lists a lot of possible side effects a few of which I did experience.
These are the side effects that I experienced whilst taking 5mg daily before bed:
- Strange abdominal pain in the first week or so of taking them. It was unlike any tummy cramp I’d had before but it subsided and went away once my body got used to the medication.
- Pins and needles in my arms. Again this was in the initial days but subsided.
- Vivid nightmares!!! This continued for a good few months but has become a lot more infrequent now.
- Anxiety. Before taking these tablets I’d never experienced anxiety before so this was very strange for me.
- Depression. This is a difficult one as it could have been down to the tablets but I’d also just had my third baby so hormones were raging and unsettled added to the fact I had really bad eczema (the reason for taking them in the first place) both things that can alter your mood and lead to depression. 15 months on I definitely feel that this phase has been and gone but it’s worth noting as there have been some that I’ve seen on various support groups that have increased doses and felt really really low! (If this happens get straight back to your doctor!!)
Worth a chat with your Specialist?
I wanted to share this medication on here because a lot of people who I’ve been speaking to on the growing eczema community on Instagram haven’t heard of it. I’m not saying they will cure eczema, I’m definitely not saying they are ‘that miracle’ pill that everyone dreams of but I’m just saying it may be worth a discussion with your doctor to see if they would be okay for you to try?!? I’m not medically trained and remember I’m not ‘cured’ either but it may just help someone. Knowledge is key especially when looking at medication for treating eczema. Too many of us have used steroid creams without knowing the lasting side effects and are now suffering with Topical Steroid Withdrawal TSW so just use it to do your own research so you can make an informed decision.
If you feel they could potentially help, speak to your doctor or skin specialist.
I hope you have found this useful!
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Please remember I am not medically trained and do not claim to be. This is based purely on my personal experiences. If you suspect that you need medical help or assistance, please contact the relevant medical/ healthcare providers. In any case of emergency, please call the emergency number (999 in the UK).