Effects of a sedative antihistamine, D-chlorpheniramine, on regional cerebral perfusion and performance during simulated car driving

Manabu Tashiro, Yumiko Sakurada, Hideki Mochizuki, Etsuo Horikawa, Masahiro Maruyama, Nobuyuki Okamura, Shoichi Watanuki, Hiroyuki Arai, Masatoshi Itoh, Kazuhiko Yanai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The sedative side effects of antihistamines have been recognized to be potentially dangerous in car driving, but the mechanism underlying these effects has not yet been elucidated to date. The aim of the present study is to examine regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) responses during a simulated car-driving task following oral administration of D-chlorpheniramine using positron emission tomography (PET) and [15O]H2O, based on a single-blind cross-over study-design. Methods: Right-handed, healthy male volunteers (n = 14) drove a car in a simulated environment following oral administration of D-chlorpheniramine repetab 6 mg or placebo. Their rCBF was measured using PET with [15O]H2O in the following three conditions: (1) resting, (2) active driving, and (3) passive driving. All 'in-car' views during the simulated driving were videotaped and used for rating driving performance. Results: Performance evaluation revealed that the number of lane deviations significantly increased in the D-chlorpheniramine condition compared with the placebo condition (p <0.01). Subjective sleepiness was not significantly different between the two drug conditions. The regions of diminished brain responses following D-chlorpheniramine treatment were detected in the parietal, temporal and visual cortices, and in the cerebellum. The regions of augmented rCBF responses were found in the orbitofrontal cortex and cerebellar vermis. Conclusion: These results suggest that D-chlorpheniramine tends to suppress visuo-spatial cognition and visuo-motor coordinating functions rather than attention and motor functions during car driving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar


  • Antihistamine
  • Car driving
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Impaired performance
  • PET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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