THE HISTORY of the use of histamine as a therapeutic weapon in the treatment of mental illness goes back for a number of years. Prior to that it had been used in general medicine for the treatment and alleviation of a number of conditions, for its properties as a vasodilator, and for its effect on gastric secretion. The doses employed have been small, usually about 0.5 mg. and never more than 1 mg.
In 1935 Gildea, Himwich, Hubbard, and Fazikas treated three catatonic schizophrenics, using histamine in sufficient doses to produce flushing and pupillary dilation.1 No beneficial results were observed. In 1938 Marshall and Tarwater reported good results from the use of histamine in gradually increasing doses in a series of 36 psychotics.*
They regarded this as a nonspecific form of desensitization. Their patients became more cooperative and their appetites improved, but they tended to relapse after two months.
LUCY JD. HISTAMINE TOLERANCE IN SCHIZOPHRENIA. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;71(5):629–639. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02320410091010
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