Asthma drugs linked to depression and suicide in children - is diet an option?

A popular asthma medication called Montelukast or Singulair - commonly prescribed for children aged two to 14 with frequent intermittent, mild persistent or exercise-induced asthma - has been linked to cases of depression and suicide in children. Authorities say in future it will be sold with side effect warnings inside the packaging. Parents are not happy and say this is not enough.

Last year, a British nurse told us:

“Don’t take medications. I’m a prescribing nurse. I know. There are too many side effects …”.

And the guidelines for the RPAH Elimination Diet say something similar:

"Avoid non-essential medication" - page 27 RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook

Is diet a non-drug option?

When our daughter developed asthma at preschool, many years ago, our doctor said asthma was not related to diet. So she took asthma medication unnecessarily for a year before we figured out her asthma was due to sulphite preservatives (220) in the dried apricots we sent every day in her "healthy" lunchbox, as recommended by the preschool teacher.

There are many similar stories in our network, including this 33 second video from Darryl:


Similarly, a failsafer named Mark went from 20 puffs of Ventolin per day to none by changing his diet:

“I suffered terribly from additive-induced asthma from the age of 10. It took a couple of decades to realise that artificial food additives were THE cause of my condition, thanks mainly to your website. Over 23 years, not a single doctor ever once asked if my condition might be due to food …” - from story [524]

And a mother named Monica wrote that she thought her children were on a healthy diet, but:

"We have had excellent results with diet for our five-year-old daughter who had severe asthma attacks with daily singulair, ventolin, atrovent and also 3 lots of prednisilone within the space of about 3 or 4 months. Since going failsafe, not even a cough ..."  - from story [526]

How to find out which foods affect your asthma?

The way to diagnose food chemical-induced asthma is to do the RPAH elimination diet with an experienced dietitian, see our list of experienced and supportive dietitians

More information

Our asthma factsheet

Hodge L, Yan KY, Loblay RL.Assessment of food chemical intolerance in adult asthmatic subjects.Thorax. 1996;51(8):805-9.

Asthma drug linked to psychotic episodes in kids

Suicide blog and factsheet

Depression factsheet