European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 255-259

First online:

Comparison of the central and peripheral effects of cetirizine and terfenadine

  • J. C. PechadreAffiliated withE.E.G. and Functional Exploration of the Nervous System Laboratory
  • , D. VernayAffiliated withE.E.G. and Functional Exploration of the Nervous System Laboratory
  • , J. F. TroleseAffiliated withLaboratory of Medical Pharmacology, I.N.S.E.R.M. U 195, Clermont Ferrand
  • , M. BloomAffiliated withUCB S.A.
  • , P. DupontAffiliated withUCB S.A.
  • , J. P. RihouxAffiliated withUCB S.A.

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The peripheral and central effects of 10 mg cetirizine 2 HCl and 60 mg terfenadine have been compared with placebo in 9 healthy male volunteers.

The peripheral effect, in terms of cutaneous reactivity to 1 µg histamine i.d., was measured by planimetry of the wheal and erythemas. Central effects were assessed with a self-evaluation visual scale and from the results of electroencephalographic spectrum analysis. Peripheral inhibition of histamine reactivity was more intense and quicker for cetirizine than for terfenadine. On the self-evaluation scale, no significant difference between terfenadine, cetirizine and placebo was noted. The quantified EEG did not show any variation in spectral parameters at any time after cetirizine. By contrast, at 6 h terfenadine had increased slow waves and had inhibited the alpha band. Thus, 10 mg cetirizine 2 HCl had less effect on the central nervous system than terfenadine 60 mg, whilst its peripheral action appeared more quickly and was more intense.

Key words

cetirizine terfenadine CNS-/peripheral effects allergic disorder H1 antagonist