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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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George Rieveschl, PhD
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Jane Henney, MD, presents Benadryl inventor George Rieveschl, PhD, with a city proclamation noting May 16 as "60 Years of Benadryl" day.
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Publish Date: 09/27/07
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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George Rieveschl, Inventor of Benadryl, Dies

CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati (UC) alumnus and engineering professor emeritus George Rieveschl, PhD, known for inventing Benadryl, the world’s first effective antihistamine, died today at Christ Hospital, Cincinnati. He was 91.

 

A long-time supporter of the College of Medicine and the university as a whole, Dr. Rieveschl developed the widely used treatment for allergy 61 years ago.

 

Dr. Rieveschl was also the founding chairman of the University Foundation Board of Trustees.

Rieveschl was a chemistry professor at UC when he invented Benadryl.  

 

He found to this surprise that a two-part compound he was originally testing to improve muscle-relaxing medications dramatically blocked histamine, the naturally released chemical that narrows air passages in the lungs and causes inflammation.

 

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

 

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 is survived by his wife, Ellen, and two sons.



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