Washington: Researchers in Finland have demonstrated that by giving a very large dose of famotidine (200 mg daily), it is possible to affect the histamine system in the brain.
Famotidine has been used for the treatment of heartburn since the 1980s, but at regular dosing, famotidine almost does not enter the brain at all, since the brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier. By increasing the dosage five-fold the drug is able to enter the brain and affect the histamine system.
Professor Jesper Ekelund, who led the team of researchers, said that after one week the symptoms of people having schizophrenia started to decrease and after four weeks of treatment the symptoms decreased significantly.
Thirty people having schizophrenia participated in the study. The patients had been on sickness pension for at least five years. They were randomly divided into two groups, one which received famotidine and one which received placebo.
All of the patients who took famotidine responded positively to the treatment while the symptoms of those who were on a placebo did not change.
Famotidine works by blocking the histamine H2 receptor. There are important neurons in the brain that use histamine as their primary signaling substance.