Montelukast Repurposed

Montelukast Repurposed


Discovering the new uses for the anti-inflammatory drug Montelukast

Montelukast treatments.

This site is about the anti-inflammatory asthma drug montelukast (brand name Singulair) and about its other benefits for treating many age related conditions. It points to research and information about treating those other medical conditions.

I am a American living in Ghana, 74 years old and retired from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, where I worked in accounting and finance. In early 2015, I started experiencing extreme mental fatigue and had difficulty concentrating on various tasks. My doctor thought it was possible early stage Alzheimer (my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer in her early 70's) even though my memory and problem solving abilities were not affected. 

In February 2016, after reading about Dr Ludwig Aigner's research in Austria on this drug as a treatment for Alzheimer, I started taking montelukast 10 mg twice a day. Within a week, my extreme mental fatigue disappeared and I was completely back to normal. I am now taking 10 mg three times a day. I have had no bad side effects and I also sleep much more soundly. 

An additional benefit was that the enlarged prostate problem I had been experiencing disappeared after about two months. Montelukast worked, whereas the prostate drugs I was taking before didn't work. This showed me that montelukast in multiple doses throughout the day can be used to treat many age related inflammatory conditions. One 10 mg tablet per day as prescribed for asthma won't be effective.

I am lucky that I live in a country where montelukast can be bought without a prescription. If I were still living in the US, I could not have been able to get a prescription for multiple tablets a day, and would have never known of its benefits. I am very lucky.

Read about the Emory University trial below. I do not know if the trial has been put on hold like many other trials during the Covid pandemic, but I am continuing to make inquires. July 2020

Update 27Feb2022 - In January Intelgenx, a Canadian medical technology company, started a new montelukast Alzheimers trial with new funding and twice a day dosing.

The Emory montelukast Alzheimers FDA trial is supposed to begin soon, but Emory is not giving out much information. 

For the latest updates, click on Menu and then click on 2022 or latest year.

Emory announces montelukast FDA trial for Alzheimer

In September 2019, Emory University announced that they were starting a FDA clinical trial with the inexpensive anti-inflammatory asthma drug montelukast. It is a one year, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer disease. Participants will be treated with up to 40 mg per day. Measurements include cognitive testing, cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) tests and neuroimaging.

This trial is being sponsored not by a drug company but rather by Emory itself. Emory is paying out millions of dollars for this trial. It is very rare for a university to pay for a FDA trial, so evidently their researchers have  confidence in a good outcome.

It appears that the trial has been put on hold because of the covid-19 pandenic and will restart in 2021.

Another montelukast Alzheimers trial, started by the Canadian medical technogy company Intelgenx in 2018, has also has been put on hold.  July 2020

Update 27Feb2022 - The Intelgenx trial has restarted with twice a day dosing and new funding. The Emory trial is expected to restart soon. Emory has been slow to update information on its trial.

Emory university  trial

What is Montelukast?

Montelukast is an anti-inflammatory drug in tablet form approved to prevent or decrease the number or severity of asthma attacks, including exercise induced attacks. It is also approved for the treatment of allergic rhinitis, also known as hayfever, which is the inflammation of the nose passages, which occurs when the immune system over reacts to allergens in the air.  

In recent years, still ongoing research has shown that it can be used to safely treat many medical conditions related to aging. Research has been or is being conducted using montelukast as a therapeutic for Alzheimers, Parkinsons disease, Lewy bodies dementia, stroke, viral pneumonia, covid-19, prostate inflammation, and other diseases envolving inflammation and aging.  July 2020

How does montelukast work?

When certain immune cells, such as mast cells and microglia, come in contact with foreign bodies, such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens, they emit cysteinyl leukotrienes, which are immune signalling molecules. These molecules can enter surrounding cells through the CysLt receptors, and the cells respond by producing cytokines, which leads to inflammation. Montelukast temporarily blocks these receptors and reduces inflammation. Montelukast doesn't block all these receptors, but when taken multiple times a day, it does significantly reduce chronic inflammation, a condition which increases as persons get older. Thus montelukast can be used to treat many medical conditions brought about by chronic inflammation in old age.  August 2020

Why starting a montelukast clinical trial for Alzheimers has taken so long

Montelukast was developed by Merck and has been available for over 20 years. Montelukast has been considered a possible treatment for Alzheimers as early as 2004, when a US patent was filed for montelukast as a treatment for cognitive decline. Here are some reasons why it has taken so long for an Alzheimers clinical trial to begin.

1. FDA clinical trials are very expensive and drug companies need to complete  trials and make a profit before the patent expires. Perhaps Merck didn't consider it a good bet for approval or the time was not enough. Besides, Merck already was working on an amyloid-beta clearing drug for Alzheimers, Verubecestal, which later failed in trials in 2018.

2. After the montelukast patent expired in 2012, it was available as a generic. The big drug companies are not interested in sponsoring a trial for a drug they can't make money off of.

3. Merck chose the very small theraputic dose for asthma of 10 mg once a day for adults and 5 mg once a day for children. I believe the reason they chose this small dosage over more effective multiple daily doses is that children with asthma were a large part of their market, and they were concerned about the chances of any serious side effects showing up. Law suits involving children are extremely expensive.

This small 10 mg dose per day is not enough to effectively treat Alzheimers and other conditions. If Merck had chosen multiple daily dosages for adults, some doctors and patients could have noticed improvements in other conditions, including Alzheimers, and there would have been an demand for clinical trials.

It has been a long road to getting a montelukast Alzheimers clinical trial started. Covid-19 has put both the Emory and the Canadian trial on hold, but I believe we will get results and FDA approval for Alzheimers by 2021.  Sep 2020

Update 27Feb2022 - The Canadian trial has restarted and the Emory trial is expected to restart soon.

Montelukast - Children and adults are different

Montelukast in its more than twenty years of use has proved to be a relatively safe drug for adults. Unfortunately America's FDA ruled this year that montelukast must come with a black box warning. This was a result of a 12 year lobbying effort from Parents United for Pharmaceutical Safety and Accountability (they have facebook group and a website). This group lobbied the FDA to warn the public about montelukast's psychiatric serious side effects in a significant percentage of children - side effects such as agitation, depression, and suicidal thoughts. In adults, however, it has proved to be relatively safe.

Some children do have some serious mental side effects with this drug and should not be taking it. This may be because children go through what is called synaptic-pruning as their brains rapidly develop, a process in which immune cells in the brain remove neuro synapses that are not being used. Montelukast may slow down the removal of these unused synapses in childhood. However, older adults have long since stopped the synaptic-pruning process. They need to keep the neuro synapses that the process of aging causes them to lose.

Montelukast may slow down the immune cells that attack those neuro synapses in Alzheimers and other dementias due to aging. Hopefully we will find out more in 2021 when the Emory University trial in Atlanta, Georgia, USA and the Intelgenx Technologies trial in Canada resume. Both have been put on hold due to the pandemic.  Nov 2020

Update 27Feb2022 - The Intelgenx trial has restarted with new funding. The Emory trial is expected to restart soon.

Montelukast as a treatment for enlarged prostate (BPH)

I have been taking the anti-inflammatory drug montelukast (brand name Singulair) since February 2016 and my enlarged prostate condition completely went away two months after starting treatment. I have been completely back to normal for the past 5 years. I take 10 mg three times a day. The approved dosage of one 10 mg a day for asthma doesn't work for enlarged prostate.

I am an retired American living in Ghana and the alpha-reductase inhibitors (finasteride and dutasteride) as well as the alpha blockers, such as tamsulosin, are available here. Unfortunately these drugs perform poorly and have a lot of bad side effects and we need an effective drug.

In high income countries, if these drugs don't work, men can get expensive but effective surgery and other procedures done and paid for by insurance or by the government. Not so in most low income countries. Men in low income countries have to go without an effective treatment and suffer.

I hope there is some physicians out there, especially in a low income countries, can look into making a treatment study using this montelukast, which is cheap and available around the world. This drug is very effective at 10 mg three times a day with good results within two months for prostate enlargement. After the patient has returned to normal, the patient must continue to take this drug to prevent the enlargement from returning. Millions of men in these countries need help.  March 2021

Montelukast for the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer

I found some research that was done using human prostate cells that showed that this drug could possibly be effective for the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. If the montelukast treatment can lower the PSA number, it could indicate that montelukast has a positive effect on prostate cancer prevention and treatment and further clinical studies and trials may be required.  March 2021

montelukast and prostate cancer