Montelukast sodium (Singulair canadian, Merck), currently on the market for asthma control, has now been approved for the relief of symptoms of hay fever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. The once-a-day tablet can help to relieve a broad array of allergy symptoms for 24 hours and can be used to treat adults and children as young as two years of age.
Most oral allergy medications work by blocking histamine, one cause of allergy symptoms. Montelukast sodium blocks leukotrienes instead of histamine and specifically targets this underlying cause of allergy symptoms. Leukotrienes, which are produced by certain cells in the body, trigger several effects that have been linked to symptoms of asthma and allergic rhinitis. In some studies, they have been associated with both early-stage allergy symptoms (such as runny nose, nasal itching, and sneezing) and late-stage symptoms (such as congestion).
The drug is available in tablet form for adults (10 mg) and as cherry-flavored, chewable tablets for children (5 mg for those aged six to 14 years old and 4 mg for those aged two to five years old).