The term “ataractic” is derived from the Greek adjective, “ataractos”, that translates into English “without confusion, cool  and collected”, and from the Greek noun, ”ataraxia”, that translates into ”peace of mind” or “freedom from confusion”. In 1955 in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Howard Fabing and Alister Cameron, a professoe of classics, proposed that chlorpromazine and similar drugs which produce “ataraxia”, i.e., absence of emotional upset and a condition of imperturbability, be called, “ataraxics” (Fabing 1955; Berger 1976).

Berger A. History. In: Usdin E, Forrest IS, editors. Psychotherapeutic Drugs. Volume One. New York/Basel: Marcel Dekker; 1976, pp. 111-57.

Fabing HD. Designation of tranquilizing agents in neuropharmacology. JAMA 1955; 158: 1461.


Carlos R. Hojaij

March 27, 2014