Barry Blackwell’s eulogy of Donald F. Klein

Janusz Rybakowski’s comment


        We have been struck with a piece of very sad news. Donald Klein, one of the icons of modern psychopharmacology, passed away. His contribution to contemporary science of neurobiology of mental disorders and psychiatric treatment has been enormous. As an eager adept of these disciplines, let me just mention the two issues which made the greatest impact on me. First, is the issue of demonstrating the efficacy of tricyclic antidepressants, mainly imipramine, in such anxiety disorders as social phobia (now called social anxiety disorder) and panic disorder (Gittelman-Klein and Klein 1971; Garakani, Zitrin and Klein 1984). The second is the “suffocation false alarm theory” of panic disorder which places the disorder in quite a broad context, including evolutionary psychiatry (Klein 1993). Although I never had the privilege of meeting Donald Klein in person I have always been an admirer of his great perspective relating to the development of modern psychiatry and psychopharmacology.



Garakani H, Zitrin CM, Klein DF. Treatment of panic disorder with imipramine alone. Am J Psychiatry 1984; 141: 446-8.

Gittelman-Klein R, Klein DF. School phobia: controlled imipramine treatment. Calif Med. 1971; 115: 42.

Klein DF. False suffocation alarms, spontaneous panics, and related conditions. An integrative hypothesis. 1993; 50: 306-17.


January 30, 2020