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Hum Psychopharmacol. 2016 May;31(3):167-77. doi: 10.1002/hup.2524. Epub 2016 Mar 21.

A simulated car-driving study on the effects of acute administration of levocetirizine, fexofenadine, and diphenhydramine in healthy Japanese volunteers.

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Division of Cyclotron Nuclear Medicine, Cyclotron and Radioisotope Center, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Allergie-Centrum-Charité/ECARF, Charité - Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Pharmacology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.



Antihistamines are often used for treating allergic rhinitis. However, many older antihistamines cause sedative side effects. The sedative effects of antihistamines on car-driving have been investigated. This has not been investigated for levocetirizine, a new-generation antihistamine, in Asian populations, and so we evaluated its sedative effects in healthy Japanese subjects.


In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, four-way crossover study, healthy volunteers received single doses of levocetirizine 5 mg, fexofenadine 60 mg, diphenhydramine 50 mg, and placebo at intervals of at least 6 days. Simple brake reaction time and choice brake reaction time task (CBRT), a lateral tracking (LT) task, and a multiple task, a mixture of CBRT and LT task, were used to compare driving performance between the four drugs. Subjective sedation was also assessed.


The simple brake reaction time and CBRT, and the CBRT component of the multiple task, did not show any significant differences between the drugs. In contrast, the LT, both as a single parameter and as a component of the multiple task, showed significant differences between diphenhydramine and the newer-generation antihistamines in a manner that corresponds with subjective sedation.


Levocetirizine and fexofenadine did not impair psychomotor performance in subjects performing simulated car-driving tasks, while diphenhydramine did impair psychomotor performance in the subjects. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


antihistamines; diphenhydramine; fexofenadine; levocetirizine; sedation; simulated car-driving

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