Until the discovery of chlorpromazine in 1952, there were no specific drug treatments in psychiatry, only sedatives and stimulants. The efficacy of chlorpromazine hydrochloride in schizophrenia began a hunt for other specific remedies leading to the discovery of imipramine hydrochloride for depression in 1957, followed by several newer sedatives supposedly specific for neurotic anxiety and called "minor tranquilizers." These arrived between 1957 and 1965 and included hydroxyzine hydrochloride (Atarax, Vistaril), meprobamate (Equanil, Miltown), and the benzodiazepines (Librium, Valium, and Serax). In addition, combinations of so-called antidepressants and tranquilizers have become available and new or older drugs now are claimed to have dual actions in treating both anxiety and depression.
Since these drugs became available, there have been many studies of which drugs should be used in particular conditions. By way of contrast, this review examines what drugs are actually being used and what types of illness they are prescribed to
Blackwell B. Psychotropic Drugs in Use TodayThe Role of Diazepam in Medical Practice. JAMA. 1973;225(13):1637–1641. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220410039008
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