A review of the cardiac systemic side-effects of antihistamines: ebastine


Dr A. J. Moss Professor of Medicine, Director of Heart Research Follow-up Program, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


The cardiac safety of ebastine, a long-acting, non-sedating antihistamine, has been thoroughly assessed in phase I–III clinical studies. Ebastine alone at the recommended doses of 10 mg and 20 mg has no clinically relevant effect on QTc interval in adults and in special patient populations (elderly, children or subjects with hepatic or renal impairment). Ebastine administered at 60 and 100 mg/day (3–5 times the maximum recommended dose) for 1 week had statistically significantly smaller effects (3.7 and 10.3 msec, respectively) on the QTc interval than terfenadine (18 msec) at three times the recommended dose (360 mg/day). The mean QTc interval prolongation observed with ebastine 100 mg/day was small and not clinically meaningful, although the results were statistically significant vs. placebo. The effect of ebastine 60 mg/day was not statistically different from placebo. Steady-state drug interaction studies demonstrated that the co-administration of ebastine 20 mg with ketoconazole or erythromycin produced significant increases in systemic exposure for ebastine, which were accompanied by small increases in QTc (approximately 10 msec above ketoconazole or erythromycin alone). Results from individual studies suggest that, when coadministered with ketoconazole, ebastine produces similar changes in QTc interval measurements compared to loratadine and cetirizine. Pooled data from clinical efficacy trials of ebastine 1–30 mg/day administered for 2–3 weeks showed no clinically relevant cardiac effects as assessed by serial electrocardiographs and Holter monitoring. The overall cardiac safety profile based on currently available information suggests that ebastine, like loratadine and cetirizine, has a lower potential for causing adverse cardiovascular effects than terfenadine.