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All about: Zafirlukast

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Generic name: Zafirlukast
Brand names: Accolate

Why is Zafirlukast prescribed?

Accolate helps prevent asthma attacks. It is prescribed for long-term treatment.

Most important fact about Zafirlukast

Accolate will not stop an asthma attack once it starts. You will still need to use an airway-opening medication when an attack occurs.

How should you take Zafirlukast?

Accolate should be taken twice every day, whether or not you have had any recent asthma attacks. Do not take the medication with food. Allow at least 1 hour to pass before eating, or wait for 2 hours after a meal. You can continue to take Accolate while using another medication to stop an attack.

--If you miss a dose...

Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature in a dark, dry place.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Accolate.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Headache, infection, nausea

Why should Zafirlukast not be prescribed?

If you have had an allergic reaction to Accolate or to any of its ingredients, avoid Zafirlukast.

Special warnings about Zafirlukast

While taking Accolate, you should not stop--or even cut down on--any other asthma medication you are using unless your doctor recommends it. Remember that Accolate is not an airway-opening medication. You will still need an inhaler to stop an attack.

If you have been taking an oral steroid drug and your doctor does decide to cut back the dosage, there is a remote chance that complications will follow. Inform your doctor of any new symptoms.

Also call your doctor if you develop any of the following: pain in the upper right abdomen, nausea, fatigue, lethargy, loss of appetite, itching, flu-like symptoms, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). These are signs of a liver problem--a rare side effect of Accolate that tends to develop more often in women. If tests show the problem to be serious, you'll have to stop using the drug. The symptoms will disappear once you stop.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Zafirlukast

A full stomach can reduce Accolate's effectiveness. Do not take with meals.

If Accolate is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Accolate with the following:

Aspirin (Ecotrin, Genuine Bayer, others)
Astemizole (Hismanal)
Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin
Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral)
Erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, others)
Heart and blood pressure medications called calcium channel blockers, including Calan, Cardizem, and Procardia
Phenytoin (Dilantin)
Terfenadine (Seldane)
Theophylline (Theo-Dur, others)
Tolbutamide (Orinase)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Accolate should be taken during pregnancy only if clearly needed. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately.

Accolate does find its way into breast milk and should not be taken by nursing mothers.

Recommended dosage

ADULTS

The usual dose for adults and children 12 years of age and over is 20 milligrams twice a day.

CHILDREN

The usual dose for children 5 to 11 years of age is 10 milligrams twice a day. Safety and effectiveness in children under 5 years of age have not been established.

Overdosage

Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Symptoms of Accolate overdose may include:
    Rash, upset stomach

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