BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The histaminergic neurotransmitter system is currently under investigation as a target for drug treatment of cognitive deficits in clinical disorders. The therapeutic potential of new drugs may initially be screened using a model of histaminergic dysfunction, for example, as associated with the use of centrally active antihistamines. Of the selective second generation antihistamines, cetirizine has been found to have central nervous system effects. The aim of the present study was to determine whether cetirizine can be used as a tool to model cognitive deficits associated with histaminergic hypofunction. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: The study was conducted according to a three-way, double-blind, cross-over design. Treatments were single oral doses of cetirizine 10 and 20 mg and placebo. Effects on cognition were assessed using tests of word learning, memory scanning, vigilance, divided attention, tracking and visual information processing speed. KEY RESULTS: Cetirizine 10 mg impaired tracking performance and both doses impaired memory scanning speed. None of the other measures indicated impaired performance. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Cetirizine affects information processing speed, but these effects were not sufficient to serve as a model for cognitive deficits in clinical disorders.
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- ANTIHISTAMINES, BRAIN HISTAMINE, DEXCHLORPHENIRAMINE, DIPHENHYDRAMINE, FEXOFENADINE, MEQUITAZINE, OCCUPANCY, PSYCHOMETRIC TEST-PERFORMANCE, PSYCHOMOTOR PERFORMANCE, SEDATION, antihistamine, cetirizine, episodic memory, psychomotor performance, working memory