Doctors warned to tell patients powerful asthma drug montelukast can cause suicidal thoughts or hallucinations
- Many patients said that montelukast had deeply affected their behaviour
- They complained of nightmares and also seeing grotesque things while awake
- It is extremely effective at cutting the frequency of severe asthma attacks
Doctors have been warned to tell patients that a powerful asthma drug can cause suicidal thoughts or hallucinations.
Official advice from the drug regulator is a victory for The Mail on Sunday, after we revealed that many patients, including children, said that montelukast had deeply affected their behaviour.
They complained of nightmares, seeing grotesque things while awake and being gripped by suicidal urges after taking the drug, also known by the brand name Singulair.
Official advice from the drug regulator is a victory for The Mail on Sunday, after we revealed that many patients, including children, said that montelukast had deeply affected their behaviour (file image)
It is extremely effective at cutting the frequency of severe asthma attacks and is also used to combat hayfever.
But now the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has published a safety update as a reminder of the drug’s ‘risk of neuropsychiatric reactions’.
It reads: ‘Prescribers should carefully consider the benefits and risks of continuing treatment if they occur.’
After our first story was published in May, scores of people contacted the MoS to describe their ordeals.
Many complained they were never warned of the risks by their doctor. Some said when they returned to tell of their awful experiences, their fears that the drug was responsible were dismissed.
The MHRA warning urges health workers to tell patients of possible problems, saying they should ‘advise patients and their care-givers to read carefully the list of neuropsychiatric reactions in the patient information leaflet and seek medical advice immediately should they occur’.
However, it also stressed to patients: ‘It is important you do not stop montelukast without talking to a doctor or asthma nurse first.’
This is because coming off medication might result in severe asthma attacks resuming.
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