26 March 2019

26th March 1954 - Largactil use approved


On 26th March 1954 the antipsychotic drug Thorazine (chlorpromazine) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The drug was first produced in France in 1951. It had 'produced indifference to aversive stimuli in rats' and was tried out as an anthistimine and for calming patients before an operation, then used as an anti psychotic in 1952 with dramatic effect. It became available under the proprietary name of Largactil, or large in action. This name reflected the wide number of uses of the drug.

It works primarily by blocking the neural transmitter dopamine, although that took some years to work out, and proved more targeted than barbiturates and older sedatives.

Between 1953 and 1955 chlorpromazine treatment spread round the world.

For example in 1954 Dr Sinclair at Herrison Mental Hospital in Dorchester said it had brought about '... miraculous results. Many patients have responded to the treatment and now were back at their homes and jobs.' (thanks to British Newspaper Archive).

The popularity of the drug fell from the late 1960s as newer drugs became available.

 Thankyou to today in psychology history for the date.

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