• J. E. Leysen
  • C. J. E. Niemegeers


The history of neuroleptics started with the discovery of chlorpromazine. Chlorpromazine, a phenothiazine derivative related to promethazine (an antihistamine) and to diethazine (an antiparkinson agent), was initially used in anesthesia to potentiate the narcotic effect of pethidine.1 Chlorpromazine produced a state of indifference without loss of consciousness, and the authors suggested its potential usefulness in psychiatry and obstetrics. Delay et al.2 first studied the therapeutic effects of chlorpromazine in psychotic patients and discovered its specific antipsychotic action. Chlorpromazine became the archetype of a new class of drugs, which were called neuroleptics. The most prominent pharmacological activities of chlorpromazine were reported 1 year later.3 For several years, neuroleptic activity was considered to be an exclusive property of a few phenothiazine derivatives closely related to chlorpromazine and of the Rauwolfia alkaloid reserpine.4


Dopamine Receptor Dopamine Agonist Receptor Site Dopamine Turnover Atypical Neuroleptic 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Leysen
    • 1
  • C. J. E. Niemegeers
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biochemical PharmacologyJanssen PharmaceuticaBeerseBelgium
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyJanssen PharmaceuticaBeerseBelgium

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