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March 1959

A Comparison of Chlorpromazine and EST in Treatment of Acute Schizophrenic and Manic Reactions

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(3):384-391. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340150116015

Six years have elapsed since chlorpromazine had its first clinical trials. During that time over 1,200 separate reports on this drug have been published. Most of these reports have indicated clinical impressions of its value in all types of mental illness— chronic and acute. Most of the reports are laudatory.1-3,8-11,13-15

At this time there seems to be general agreement that chlorpromazine and related compounds are useful in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Now that the early wave of enthusiasm for the "psychiatric wonder drugs" has passed, we believe that it is necessary to compare the results of chlorpromazine treatment with those of other standard treatment methods. Only by evaluation under carefully controlled conditions can one come to any statistically defensible conclusions about its usefulness.

Electroshock therapy (EST) has been an accepted treatment method for acute schizophrenic and manic reactions for a number of years. In this study we have