CAPSULES: HISTORY OF PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY
Capsules from Fourteen to Sixteen
14. Introduction of the first set of psychotropic drugs.
The first set of nine psychotropic drugs was introduced within a period of about ten years. Lithium, introduced in 1949, was the first and chlordiazepoxide, in 1960, was the last. In between, chlorpromazine was introduced, in 1953, reserpine, in 1954, meprobamate, in 1956, imipramine and iproniazid, in 1957, chlorprothixene, in 1959, and haloperidol, in 1959. The origin of the rediscovery of lithium was in research in manic depressive illness, whereas the origin of the discovery of chlorpromazine was in research with antihistaminics, that of reserpine, in investigations with substances used in Ayurvedic medicine, of meprobamate, research with antibiotics, of iproniazid, in clinical observations (with the use of the substance in tubercular patients), of haloperidol, in research with meperidine, and of imipramine, chlorprothixene and chlordiazepoxide, in the search for structurally and or pharmacologically similar substances to chlorpromazine and meprobamate.
15. Psychiatry in the 1950s.
During the years the first set of psychotropic drugs were introduced, in the 1950s, the psychiatric scene was characterized by widely different orientations in different parts of the world, e.g. Henry Ey’s “organodynamic” approach dominated in France, Wimmer’s “psychogenic” approach in Scandinavia. There was little in common between the German “psychopathologists,” American “psychodynamicists” and British “social psychiatrists”. In many countries, the introduction of the new, to be referred to as “psychotropic”, drugs was met with considerable suspicion and resistance.
16. Synthesis of iproniazid and the recognition of its monoamine oxidase inhibiting and euphorizing effect.
The origin of hydrazines is in Emil Fischer’s research, in the mid-1870s. Isoniazid was derived from hydrazine, a powerful reducing agent, in 1912. Iproniazid, the isopropyl derivative of isoniazid, was synthesized by Herbert Fox at Roche Laboratories, in 1951. Both drugs, introduced first as tuberculostatic agents, were found, in 1952, to induce hyperactivity and euphoria in some tubercular patients. Iponiazid’s monoamine oxidase inhibiting effect was detected by Zeller, at the University of Chicago, in the same year.