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News and Research: MS, remyelination, and an OTC antihistamine

Study: MWF of the corpus callosum is a robust measure of remyelination: Results from the ReBUILD trial

Published: PNAS, May 2023


The study included 50 multiple sclerosis (MS patients) and looked at the brain regions that are rich in myelin.  In MS, the body attacks the myelin sheath.

The study looked at ways to assess the therapeutic effect of compounds on the remyelination of neurons through imaging.  While important for researchers to know the best MRI imaging biomarkers, what I found interesting is the effect on myelin from a first-generation anti-histamine, clemastine.

MRI scans were done at baseline, 3 months and 5 months. Half of the patients received clematine and the other half a placebo from months 3 to 5.

The results showed that clemastine stimulated the differentiation of stem cells that make myelin.


This isn’t the first study on clemastine showing positive results for people with MS.  However, it is important in that it shows how and where the remyelination is taking place.


Clemastine used to be available OTC in the US as Dayhist Allergy and as a part of Tavist-D. Currently, it doesn’t seem to be readily available in the US, but it may be available from online retailers. There is also a prescription version of clemastine and a pet allergy version.  Being a first-generation antihistamine, clemastine does make people sleepy (like Benadryl).