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June 22, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(25):2448-2449. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810250022005

Best1 demonstrated, from the results of in vitro experiments, that a histamine inactivating substance existed. Later Best and McHenry2 proved the specificity of this inactivating substance for histamine and accordingly suggested that the inactivating substance be known as histaminase. Histaminase has now become a popular drug for clinical experimentation in allergic diseases and allied disorders. The foundation for this clinical experimentation is based entirely on the hypothetical assumption that the allergic reaction is caused by the liberation of "H-substance" at the site of contact of antibody with antigen and on the probability that histaminase might inactivate the "H-substance," which is similar but not identical to histamine. Histaminase has been reported to be effective in the treatment of hay fever,3 urticaria,4 angioneurotic edema,5 allergic eczema,6 seborrheic eczema,5 acne vulgaris,7 Ménière's disease,5 gastrointestinal allergy,8 ulcerative colitis,9 cold allergy10 and serum

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