Singulair and Depression

by on July 21, 2012

Singulair is an effective medication used for treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis, and to prevent exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. It is classified as a leukotreine receptor antagonist. Like other medicines, Singulair can cause some side effects, and depression appears to be one of them.

In March of 2008, the FDA released a safety alert about the use of this asthma and allergy medication that was intended to inform healthcare providers and consumers regarding the agency’s investigation into the possible relationship between Singulair use and mood changes, particularly depression and the risk of suicide.

Before drugs are approved, they undergo clinical trials to evaluate its possible side effects. In most of these clinical studies, depression was not reported as a common side effect of Singulair. However, post-marketing studies and case reports reveal that this medication can possibly cause depression. The manufacturer of Singulair, Merck & Co., Inc. has received reports of users experiencing side effects such as

  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts and actions
  • tremors
  • anxiousness (anxiety)

In response, the FDA and Merck have decided to talk with prescribers and make available patient information leaflets to be given to consumers. The FDA is continuously working with the manufacturer to review its database as well as evaluating case reports.

At present, the FDA is still inconclusive whether use of Singulair can actually cause depression or increase suicidal risks. The results of the investigation are yet to be finalized. Until more detailed information is available, the FDA recommends that people prescribed with Singulair should not stop taking it unless specifically instructed by their healthcare provider. The agency also recommends that healthcare providers and caregivers monitor their patients using Singulair for any changes in mood or behavior, or suicidal thinking.

Signs of Depression

Individuals taking Singulair should watch out for possible signs of depression. If you notice any symptom of depression while using this medication, consult your healthcare provider right away. Depression symptoms include:

  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities that are once pleasurable
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Persistent feeling of sadness, anxiety or “emptiness”
  • Body aches and pains that do not seem to resolve
  • Suicidal ideation or actions

Your healthcare provider will evaluate your condition and give you recommendations on how to manage these symptoms. In case of Singulair causes serious signs of depression or suicidal thinking, your healthcare provider may recommend dose adjustment or discontinuing this medication.

In addition, the FDA urges both consumers and healthcare professionals to report any side effects, such as mood or behavioral, caused by Singulair to the MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. This would help the agency learn more about the relationship between Singulair and depression.