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June 1957

Effects of "Tranquilizers" upon Pathological Activity in Psychotic Patients: I. Chlorpromazine

Author Affiliations

Evanston, Ill.; Lexington, Ky.

From the U. S. Public Health Service Hospital.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;77(6):616-622. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330360074008

Delay, Deniker, and Harl1 were first to use chlorpromazine as a single agent in the treatment of excited and agitated states and to note its quieting effect upon such psychiatric conditions. Excellent descriptions of the "tranquilizing" effects of chlorpromazine have been reported by European and English investigators.1-4 In some of these reports it appears that "tranquilizing" effect refers merely to the substitution of somnolence for "pathological activity," while in others it seems that "normal" supplanted "abnormal" activity. Sometimes abnormal activity was defined as "hyperactivity" and sometimes as "hypoactivity." In the American literature emphasis has been placed on the reduction of hyperactivity.5-7

Although almost all evaluations of chlorpromazine in psychiatry have attempted to measure its effect in terms of changes in disturbed behavior, few investigators have actually defined in advance the specific abnormal behavior to be observed and then tested their data statistically to see whether specific changes

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