The effects of acute doses of fexofenadine, promethazine, and placebo
on cognitive and psychomotor function in healthy Japanese volunteers

Ridout F, Hindmarch I.
HPRU Medical Research Centre,
University of Surrey,
Egerton Road, Guildford,
Surrey, United Kingdom.
Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003 Apr;90(4):404-10.


BACKGROUND: Genetic variations in cross-cultural metabolic capability may attenuate the lack of central nervous system effects of fexofenadine. OBJECTIVE: To compare the pharmacodynamics of fexofenadine and promethazine versus placebo in Japanese volunteers. METHODS: In this randomized, crossover, double-blind study, 24 subjects received single doses of fexofenadine 60 mg and 120 mg, promethazine 25 mg, and placebo, with a 6-day washout period between treatments. Objective measures included critical flicker fusion, choice reaction time, and a compensatory tracking task. A line analog rating scale evaluated self-rated sedation. A rapid visual information-processing task evaluated vigilance at baseline and at 2 hours. RESULTS: Fexofenadine was not significantly different from placebo on any test at any timepoint. In contrast, promethazine impaired critical flicker fusion thresholds (F[3,63] = 5.37, P = 0.0023); increased recognition reaction time (F[3,63] = 13.63, P < 0.0001) and total reaction time (F[3,63] = 12.23, P < 0.0001) components of the choice reaction time test; reduced tracking accuracy (F[3,63] = 14.25, P < 0.0001) and increased reaction times to peripheral stimuli (F[3,63] = 9.29, P < 0.0001) in the compensatory tracking task; reduced the number of valid responses (F[3,63] = 14.86, P < 0.0001) and impaired reaction times (F[3,63] = 12.02, P < 0.0001) in the rapid visual information-processing task test; and impaired subjective ratings of sedation (F[3,63] = 7.55, P = 0.0002), compared with placebo. CONCLUSIONS: A battery of tests sensitive to impairment by promethazine failed to show any negative cognitive or psychomotor effects with fexofenadine 60 and 120 mg. Fexofenadine is an intrinsically non-impairing antihistamine in Japanese subjects.

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