Health Encyclopedia > Medications

zafirlukast

Pronunciation: za FIR loo kast

Brand: Accolate

Accolate 10 mg

round, white, imprinted with ACCOLATE 10, ZENECA

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Accolate 20 mg

round, white, imprinted with ACCOLATE 20, ZENECA

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What is the most important information I should know about zafirlukast?

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Zafirlukast will not work fast enough to treat an asthma attack that has already begun. Use only a fast-acting inhalation medicine to treat an asthma attack. Talk with your doctor if any of your asthma medications do not seem to work as well in treating or preventing attacks.

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It may take up to several weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after several weeks of treatment.

Call your doctor right away if you feel that this medicine is not working as well as usual, or if it makes your condition worse. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor.

What is zafirlukast?

Zafirlukast is a leukotriene (loo-koe-TRY-een) inhibitor. Leukotrienes are chemicals your body releases when you breathe in an allergen (such as pollen). These chemicals cause swelling in your lungs and tightening of the muscles around your airways, which can result in asthma symptoms.

Zafirlukast is used to for chronic treatment of asthma, and to prevent asthma attacks in adults and children as young as 5 years old.

Do not give this medication to a child without a doctor's advice.

Zafirlukast may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking zafirlukast?

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You should not use this medication if you are allergic to zafirlukast, or if you have liver disease (including cirrhosis).

To make sure you can safely take zafirlukast, tell your doctor if you have liver disease.

The chewable tablet form of this medication may contain up to 0.842 milligrams of phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using this form of zafirlukast if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

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Zafirlukast can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking zafirlukast.

How should I take zafirlukast?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Zafirlukast is usually taken twice daily. Follow your doctor's instructions.

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Take zafirlukast on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

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Zafirlukast will not work fast enough to treat an asthma attack that has already begun. Use only a fast-acting inhalation medicine to treat an asthma attack. Talk with your doctor if any of your asthma medications do not seem to work as well in treating or preventing attacks.

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It may take up to several weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after several weeks of treatment.

Asthma is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice, even if you have no asthma symptoms.

Call your doctor right away if you feel that this medicine is not working as well as usual, or if it makes your condition worse. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor.

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Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include skin rash and upset stomach.

What should I avoid while taking zafirlukast?

Avoid situations or activities that may trigger an asthma attack.

What are the possible side effects of zafirlukast?

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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • worsening asthma symptoms;
  • new or worsening cough, fever, trouble breathing;
  • mood or behavior changes, anxiety, depression, sleep problems (insomnia);
  • skin rash, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness; or
  • nausea, pain in your upper stomach, loss of appetite, flu symptoms, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache;
  • diarrhea, stomach pain;
  • weakness;
  • dizziness;
  • muscle pain; or
  • sore throat, cold symptoms.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect zafirlukast?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • aspirin;
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • tolbutamide (Orinase);
  • erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, Pediazole);
  • theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Theochron, Uniphyl);
  • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol); or
  • phenytoin (Dilantin).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with zafirlukast. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about zafirlukast.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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