Singulair for Children With Allergies

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Singulair (montelukast) can be used to treat allergies in children as young as 6 months. Unlike most allergy medications, Singulair doesn't usually cause drowsiness or sedation, which may make it a good choice for children who get sleepy when taking Zyrtec (cetirizine), Claritin (loratadine), or Clarinex (desloratadine).

This article discusses the prescription allergy and asthma medication Singulair and its use in children. Learn about how it works, child-friendly forms of the drug, and possible side effects.

Mother wiping nose of daughter with tissue
KidStock / Blend Images / Getty Images

Uses for Singulair in Children

Singulair is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for:

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 Singulair Works

The active ingredient in Singulair is montelukast sodium, a leukotriene receptor antagonist.

Leukotrienes are thought to cause many allergy and asthma symptoms, so blocking them with Singulair may help control your child's symptoms.

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

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose

Child-Friendly Forms and How to Use Them

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)

Oral granules and chewable tablets are the easiest for 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. You can also mix them with a spoonful of soft food, such as baby food, applesauce, rice, or ice cream or put them directly in your child's mouth.

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

Possible Side Effects of Singulair

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

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.


The prescription medication Singulair is approved for use in children as young as 6 months. It can be used to treat allergies and asthma and is available in child-friendly forms such as oral granules and chewable tablets.

Singulair may be a good option for treating your child's allergies if you are concerned about drowsiness as a side effect. This medication can have other side effects, however, such as stomach pain and upset, dizziness, and upper respiratory infection.

4 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).

  4. Winkel JS, Damkier P, Hallas J, Henriksen DP. Treatment with montelukast and antidepressive medication—a symmetry analysis. Pharmacoepidemiol 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.