Out of 19 patients with extrinsic bronchial asthma challenged with 123 μg histamine acid phosphate by intravenous infusion only 13 responded with a fall in FEV1 of over 10% (mean 16%). Seventeen of these patients were given histamine 2 mg/ml by aerosol, and all responded with a mean decrease in FEVi of 37.8%. When challenged with allergen extract by aerosol the mean decrease in FEVi was 37.5%. After 40 mg sodium cromoglycate 15 of the 17 patients showed significant protection against allergen challenge with a mean decrease in FEV1 of only 23.6%. Inhalation of 40 mg sodium cromoglycate, however, failed to protect against histamine given by either the intravenous or aerosol route. Histamine given intravenously to asthmatic patients produces less of a bronchial response than when given by aerosol, even though the intravenous route produces many more systemic symptoms, such as flushing and throbbing headache. The protection of sodium cromoglycate against an allergen inhalation challenge is not due to histamine antagonism.
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