Allergen-mediated histamine release was measured on small samples of blood in atopic subjects before and following ingestion of two tablets of terbutaline (5 mg) or placebo.
No significant variation of histamine release was observed in the placebo group whereas a statistically significant decrease (maximally 45% of basal value) was found in four of the five patients receiving terbutaline. The mean reduction was about 25% of basal allergen-mediated histamine release. The inhibition was observed 1 hr after taking the drug and persisted for at least 5 hr. Twenty-four hours later the amount of histamine released by antigen was again at its basal value.
These data indicate that terbutaline, at what are considered therapeutic doses, has an antianaphylactic action which might be of interest in the treatment of atopic disorders.