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Can Antihistamine Erase Bad Memories?

Can Antihistamine Erase Bad Memories? Researchers in Switzerland believe they have identified molecules and compounds that are related to human memory.

In a subsequent pharmacological study with one of the identified compounds, the scientists found a drug-induced reduction of aversive memory.

Investigators believe this finding could have implications for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, which is characterized by intrusive traumatic memories.

The findings have been published in the journal PNAS.

Researchers from the University of Basel led a multinational collaborative study to analyze the genetic basis of emotionally aversive memory — a trait central to anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In a gene-set analysis, the scientists identified 20 potential drug target genes that are involved in the process of remembering negative events.

Researchers used a double-blind, placebo-controlled study based on the results of genetic analysis, to examine a compound that interacts with one of the previously identified gene products.

Investigators discovered a single dose of the drug (a known antihistamine) led to significant reduction of memory recall of previously seen aversive pictures. However, the drug did not affect memory of neutral or positive pictures.

Experts believe the findings could have implications for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.

With this study, the scientists were for the first time able to demonstrate that human genome information can be used to identify substances that can modulate memory.

Researchers believe this discover may help scientists identify and develop memory-enhancing drugs that would be beneficial for the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases.

Source: University of Basel


Researcher holding a bottle of medication photo by shutterstock.

Can Antihistamine Erase Bad Memories?

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Can Antihistamine Erase Bad Memories?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.