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George Rieveschl, PhD, discovered Benadryl while serving as a chemical engineering professor at UC. The drug became the first FDA-approved prescription antihistamine.
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George Rieveschl, PhD, discovered Benadryl while serving as a chemical engineering professor at UC. The drug became the first FDA-approved prescription antihistamine.
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Invented by UC scientist George Rieverschl, PhD, Benadryl is the world's first effective antihistamine.
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Publish Date: 05/12/06
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Local Inventor Honored for Developing World's First Antihistamine

CINCINNATI—The man who made the world breathe easier will be honored for his discovery during a reception to be held on Tuesday, May 16.

George Rieveschl, PhD, while a chemical engineering professor at the University of Cincinnati (UC), invented the drug Benadryl, the world’s first effective antihistamine.

Dr. Rieveschl will be recognized in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Benadryl, commonly used to treat allergy symptoms such as hay fever, rashes and hives. The reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Queen City Club, 331 East Fourth St., downtown Cincinnati.

Dr. Rieveschl found that his two-part compound, originally tested to improve muscle-relaxing medications, dramatically blocked histamine, a chemical released in the body that narrows air passages in the lungs and causes inflammation.

This “surprising” breakthrough led to Benadryl becoming the first FDA-approved prescription antihistamine in 1946. First produced by Parke, Davis and Company, the drug is now distributed over-the-counter by the Parke-Davis division of Pfizer, Inc.

A 1937 alumnus of UC, Dr. Rieveschl spent 26 years working in the chemical industry as both a scientist and a consultant before returning to UC in 1970. He currently is a professor emeritus of environmental engineering.

Jane Henney, MD, senior vice president and provost for health affairs at the UC Academic Health Center, and Karen Gould, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will both provide a glimpse of Dr. Rieveschl’s remarkable contributions to science, education and community health.



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