sigma receptor ligands represent a new class of potential antipsychotic drugs. This paper presents the structure-activity relationships leading to novel disubstituted piperidine sigma ligands, which have little or no affinity for dopamine D2 receptors. Selectivity for sigma sites over dopamine D2 or serotonin 5-HT2 receptors appears to be governed by the chemical nature of the piperidine nitrogen substituent, its distance from the basic nitrogen, and its orientation relative to the other piperidine substituent. Several of these compounds have good oral potency in some animal models used to evaluate potential antipsychotic drugs. The N-cyclopropylmethyl ketones and ethers (e.g. 6i (DuP 734), 6q, 18a, and 18n) have the best in vivo potency. Compounds 6i (DuP 734) and 6q did not cause catalepsy in the rat, even at very high doses. On the basis of the pharmacology profiles of these sigma ligands, we propose these compounds may be effective antipsychotic drugs, which do not induce extrapyramidal side effects or tardive dyskinesia.