Histamine H-1-receptor blockade in humans affects psychomotor performance but not memory

P. van Ruitenbeek*, A. Vermeeren, W.J. Riedel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Downloads (Pure)


Results from recent animal studies suggest an important role for histamine in memory functioning. Histaminergic drugs might prove beneficial for people suffering from memory impairment. To determine if histamine is involved in memory functioning this study evaluates the effects of histaminergic dysfunction on memory performance by administrating a H-1-antagonist to humans. The study was conducted according to a 4-way, double-blind, crossover design in 20 healthy female volunteers, aged 18-45 years. On each test day subjects completed three test sessions: before and around 2 and 4 h after administration of single oral doses of dexchlorpheniramine 2 mg or 4 mg, scopolamine 1 mg or placebo. Drug effects were assessed using tests of memory, psychomotor and attention performance, and subjective alertness. Results showed that dexchlorpheniramine impaired performance in tests of spatial learning, reaction time, tracking and divided attention but showed no effects on working memory, visual memory, word learning or memory scanning. Scopolamine induced a similar pattern of effects. In addition, both drugs decreased subjective alertness. In conclusion results show that dexchlorpheniramine and scopolamine clearly impaired performance on psychomotor and attention tasks but do not suggest a specific role of the histaminergic system in learning and memory in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-672
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Volume22 (6)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

Cite this