History of the development of antipsychotic medication

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 1994 Sep;17(3):531-40.


The story of the development of effective antipsychotic medications involves the collaboration of many people and organizations, ranging from Ayurvedic physicians to pharmaceutical companies, and the confluence of many quests, from that for improved synthetic dyes to that for an improved antimalarial agent. The disturbed behavior of patients and their evident anguish fueled the development of these drugs, which in turn has led to more research into the biochemistry of psychotic illnesses. Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have established the true although partial utility of these new treatments. Most patients with schizophrenia--even those who have good responses to antipsychotic agents--continue to have some psychotic symptoms and to require a great deal of rehabilitation. It is hoped that physicians in the future will not find today's therapies as harmful as we find those of the past.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / history*
  • Europe
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • India
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders / history*
  • United States


  • Antipsychotic Agents