Antitussive action of antihistamines is independent of sedative and ventilation activity in the guinea pig.

Article Details


McLeod RL, Mingo G, O'Reilly S, Ruck LA, Bolser DC, Hey JA

Antitussive action of antihistamines is independent of sedative and ventilation activity in the guinea pig.

Pharmacology. 1998 Aug;57(2):57-64.

PubMed ID
9691225 [ View in PubMed

We studied the oral actions of antihistamines from six chemical classes, namely: the ethanolamines (ENA, diphenhydramine and clemastine); ethylenediamines (EDA, pyrilamine and tripelennamine); piperidines (PPD, terfenadine and astemizole); piperazines (PPZ, hydroxyzine and cetirizine); phenothiazines (PTZ, promethazine), and the alkylamines (ALA, chlorpheniramine and bromopheniramine) on cough reflexes, pentobarbital-induced sedation and minute ventilation in the conscious guinea pig. Antihistamines of the ENA class had minimal effects on capsaicin-induced cough although both diphenhydramine (30 and 100 mg/kg p.o.) and clemastine (30 and 100 mg/kg p.o.) increased sedation time (ST). The PPZ class demonstrated both antitussive and sedating activity. The minimum effective oral antitussive dose (MED) of cetirizine and hydroxyzine was 30 and 10 mg/kg, respectively. The EDA did not exhibit antitussive activity. Tripelennamine (10, 30 and 100 mg/kg p.o.) but not pyrilamine enhanced ST. The MED for the PTZ, promethazine, was 10 mg/kg, and at 100 mg/kg promethazine increased ST. The ALA group displayed antitussive activity but only chlorpheniramine (10 mg/kg p. o.) had any effects on ST. The MED for chlorpheniramine and bromopheniramine was 3 and 10 mg/kg p.o., respectively. The PPD antihistamines, namely terfenadine and astemizole, inhibited cough (MED 30 and 10 mg/kg p.o.) without sedative effects. Of the antihistamines tested only promethazine (100 mg/kg p.o.) depressed ventilation responses; however, this dose of promethazine was associated with adverse behavioral effects. The present findings indicate that the antitussive actions of antihistamines are not directly related to histamine H1-receptor blockade because several antihistamines did not antagonize capsaicin-induced cough. In addition, the antitussive actions of antihistamines are independent of their sedative or ventilation effects.

DrugBank Data that Cites this Article

Drug Targets
DrugTargetKindOrganismPharmacological ActionActions
DexbrompheniramineHistamine H1 receptorProteinHumans