Background: The risks of using leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRA) as part of a strategy for stepping down inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) are not well known. Objective: To estimate the risk of asthma exacerbation in individuals with stable asthma who start LTRA when stopping ICS or reducing ICS dose. Methods: We identified articles from a systematic review of English and non-English articles by using a number of data bases. We included randomized controlled trials with a stable asthma run-in period of 4 weeks or more and a follow-up period of at least 3 months. We included studies of individuals with stable asthma who stopped ICS and substituted LTRA (versus continuing ICS) and who reduced ICS while starting LTRA (versus placebo). Results: The search strategy identified 1132 potential articles, of which 52 were reviewed at the full-text level, and four met criteria for inclusion. The single article that met the inclusion criteria for substitution of LTRA for ICS as a step-down strategy found a statistically increased risk of treatment failure of 30.3% for substituting LTRA compared with 20.2% for continuing ICS. The three articles that met the inclusion criteria for comparing LTRA versus placebo in patients with stable asthma who reduce ICS found a modestly decreased risk ratio that favored LTRA of 0.57 (95% confidence interval, 0.36-0.90; I2 =0%) in studies that only included individuals >15 years old. Conclusion: Only one study addressed the risk of substitution of LTRA for ICS in stable asthma, which limited any strong conclusions about this step-down strategy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine