The inhibition of immediate allergen or histamine induced airflow obstruction by inhaled ketotifen, clemastine, sodium cromoglycate, and placebo was studied in two groups of asthmatic subjects. Single doses of ketotifen (0.5 mg), clemastine (0.5 mg), sodium cromoglycate (20 mg), or placebo were administered by inhalation 45 minutes before bronchial provocation testing at weekly intervals, double blind and in random order. Inhalation of ketotifen and clemastine, but not sodium cromoglycate, caused an increase in the amount of histamine which had to be administered to cause a 20% fall in FEV1 from control levels (PD20-FEV1) compared with placebo. The PD20-FEV1 for allergen increased significantly after inhalation of clemastine and sodium cromoglycate. Clemastine, primarily an H1 receptor antagonist, inhibited airflow obstruction after inhalation of both histamine and allergen. Its inhibitory effect on allergen induced asthma did not differ significantly from that of sodium cromoglycate. Ketotifen, when inhaled in a single dose of 0.5 mg before bronchial provocation testing, showed potent antihistamine activity, but there was no evidence of any additional "antianaphylactic" activity.
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