Capsule 18

18. Introduction of chlorpromazine in psychiatry.
Chlorpromazine was synthesized in the laboratories of Rhone Poulenc, on December 11, 1950, by Charpentier and his collaborators and  released for clinical studies, in May, 1951.
It was suggested that the “psychopharmacological era”, began on January 19th, 1952, when chlorpromazine was given for the first time to a psychiatric patient by Hamon, Paraire and Velluz at Val de Grace military hospital, in Paris, France. It was the report of Laborit, Huguenard and Alluame that intravenously administered chlorpromazine, in doses of 50 to 100 mg, produced a slight tendency to sleep with indifference to the surroundings without loss of consciousness in non-psychiatric subjects. Subsequently, Delay and Deniker conducted a series of studies with the substance and reported their findings, in he same year. The 1953 publication of Staehelin and Kielholz from Switzerland was the first on chlorpromazine from outside of France, and Lehmann and Hanrahan’s paper, the first North American publication, appeared in February, 1954. In 1955, the first Australian and Russian publications on chlorpromazine, by Webb and Tarasov, respectively, were also in print. Henri Laborit, Pierre Deniker and Heinz E. Lehmann, were awarded the prestigious Lasker Prize, in 1957, for their contributions to the introduction of chlorpromazine.