Objectives: To systematically assess the efficacy and safety of montelukast for postinfectious cough (PIC) and to propose a recommendation via a systematic review of all available randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
Methods: Electronic databases and relevant journals were searched for RCTs from inception to July 2014. In addition, some unpublished literature was also searched. All studies included in the systematic review met the same inclusion criteria. Methodological quality and evidence quality were examined according to Cochrane handbook. The data were extracted and trials quality was assessed independently by two reviewers.
Results: Fourteen RCTs involving 1372 patients were included in our review. The methodological quality of the included trials was poor because one or more biases were observed in these studies. The quality of evidence was low to moderate levels. All trials reported better effect favouring for montelukast treatment. Findings suggested that compared with other western medication and Chinese medicine, montelukast showed significant effects in shortening cough relief time, increasing the clinic obvious effective rate, decreasing coughing frequency and severity and improving quality of life. Adverse events were mentioned in six studies, but no serious adverse effects were reported in any of them.
Conclusions: Montelukast demonstrated potential positive efficacy and safety for PIC; however, we could not come to a firm conclusion on the efficacy and safety of montelukast for PIC. More high quality randomized controlled trials are required to confirm the efficacy and safety of montelukast for PIC.