Accidental Antidepressants: Search for Specific Action

  • M. V. Rudorfer
  • M. Linnoila
  • W. Z. Potter
Part of the Psychopharmacology Series book series (PSYCHOPHARM, volume 3)

Abstract

Serendipity has been invoked to explain a number of discoveries in psychopharmacology. These have included the pharmacoconvulsive therapies in the 1930s (which originated in the idea of using transfused blood from schizophrenics to treat epileptics), and the “uricosuric agent” lithium, studied in the 1940s for the treatment of gout. Today electroconvulsive therapy and lithium carbonate are standard treatments for affective disorders. Of the primary antidepressant medications developed in the 1950s, monoamine oxidase inhibitors evolved from the clinical observation of euphoric reactions of tuberculosis patients to iproniazid; the prototype tricyclic antidepressant, imipramine, was synthesized in the search for a better neuroleptic. So, the classic antidepressants were the truly accidental ones.

Keywords

Lithium Dopamine Norepinephrine Monoamine Tricyclic 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. V. Rudorfer
    • 1
  • M. Linnoila
    • 2
  • W. Z. Potter
    • 1
  1. 1.Section on Clinical Pharmacology, Laboratory of Clinical ScienceNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Clinical StudiesNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismBethesdaUSA

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