Singulair Medication for Children With Allergies

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Singulair is a prescription allergy and asthma medication that can be used in children as young as six months old.

Unlike most allergy medications, Singulair doesn't usually cause drowsiness or sedation, which may make it a good choice for children who have gotten sleepy with Zyrtec, Claritin, or Clarinex.

Mother wiping nose of daughter with tissue
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Singulair is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat:

  • Perennial allergic rhinitis in children 6 months and older
  • Indoor allergies in children 6 months and older
  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis in children over 2
  • Outdoor allergies in children over 2
  • ​Asthma attack prevention and long-term maintenance in children 12 months and older
  • Exercise-induced asthma prevention in children 6 and older

Singulair is shown to help control children's allergy symptoms, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose

Forms of Singulair include:

  • Singulair Oral Granules (ages 6 months to 5 years)
  • Singulair Chewable Tablets 4mg (ages 2 to 5 years)
  • Singulair Chewable Tablets 5 mg (ages 6 to 14 years)
  • Singulair Tablets 10 mg (ages 15 and above)

Not a Rescue Medication!

Children should not take Singulair for the immediate relief of an asthma attack. A rescue inhaler is the best medication for that.

How It Works

Montelukast sodium, a leukotriene receptor antagonist, is the active ingredient in Singulair. Leukotrienes are thought to cause many allergy and asthma symptoms, so blocking them with Singulair may help control your child's symptoms.

Child-Friendly Forms

Singulair comes as oral granules and as a chewable tablet, making it easy to give to young kids who can't swallow pills and won't drink a liquid allergy medicine. You can dissolve the granules in a teaspoon of infant formula or breast milk; or mix them with a spoonful of soft food, such as baby food, applesauce, rice, or ice cream. You can also put them directly in your child's mouth.

It's a once-a-day medication, but children with asthma should take their Singulair in the evening. Children with allergies can take it whenever it is convenient but preferably at about the same time each day.

Side Effects

Singulair is generally well tolerated by children. The most common side effects include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Stomach or intestinal upset
  • Heartburn
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Flu
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Rash

Less common side effects include:

  • Agitation and aggressive behavior
  • Allergic reactions
  • Hives and itching
  • Bad or vivid dreams
  • Increased bleeding tendency
  • Bruising
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Hepatitis
  • Indigestion
  • Pancreatitis
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Pins and needles/numbness
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Swelling
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting

Tell your healthcare provider right away if your child experiences any of the following potentially serious symptoms:

  • Pins and needles or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Flu-like illness
  • Rash
  • Severe pain and swelling of the sinuses

The FDA in 2009 required the manufacturer of Singulair to include a warning about an increased risk of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide. A 2018 study found the link between Singulair use and depression was weak and more likely represented a link between asthma and depression. Still, children taking Singulair and their parents should be aware of the warning.

A Word From Verywell

If you think your child would benefit from Singulair, talk to your pediatrician or allergist. Be sure you know the potential risks and watch for side effects, as you should with any medication.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Merck & Co., Inc. Patient Information: Singulair.

  2. Sirois P. Leukotrienes: One step in our understanding of asthma. Respir Investig. 2019;57(2):97-110. doi:10.1016/j.resinv.2018.12.003

  3. Merck & Co., Inc. Singulair (Montelukast Sodium).

Additional Reading
  • Winkel JS, Damkier P, Hallas J, Henricksen DP. Treatment with motelukast and antidepressive medication-a symmetry analysis. Pharmacoedpidemiol Drug Saf. 2018;27(12):1409-15. doi:10.1002/pds.4638

By Vincent Iannelli, MD
 Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.