Antidepressant drugs of the past The area of pharmacotherapy of depression started in the 1950s, with landmark publications and discoveries that still govern the manner in which we treat depression. In 1951, the tuberculostatic drug isoniazid was synthesized, together with a series of variants, including iproniazid, the first monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Iproniazid was first prescribed to patients suffering from tuberculosis, a condition for which
it was efficacious, Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical but induced more psychostimulation than did isoniazid. Thorough clinical observations led to the recognition of iproniazid’s antidepressant effects by Kline and colleagues, Crane and colleagues, and Scherbel and colleagues.5 Iproniazid was also suggested Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical to be potentially useful in coronary disease, lupus erythematosus, and hypertension. In 1957, Kuhn described the antidepressant effect of imipramine, a tricyclic compound initially intended as an antipsychotic.6 Tricyclic antidepressants and MAOIs were rapidly demonstrated to be efficacious in severe depression and atypical depression, as well as in other categories of depressive disorders. However, iproniazid and other MAOIs became obsolete because of the risk of hypotension and hypertensive crisis; they are no longer marketed in many countries
Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical and rarely prescribed in countries where they remain available. Tricyclic antidepressants lead to adverse reactions, such as hypotension, prolongation of cardiac conduction, and drug-induced arrhythmia, side effects related to antagonism of the cholinergic RAAS inhibitor system (dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, urinary hesitancy, amnesia, sedation, etc), and the histaminergic system
(sedation), as well as a quinidine-like Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical effect on ion channels. Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical Despite these adverse drug reactions and the fact that suicide attempts with MAOIs or tricyclic antidepressants generally need hospitalization, often in intensive care units, the record was definitely in favor of the use of these early antidepressants in major depression. It was generally considered that mild depression did not respond to antidepressant therapy, Rolziracetam an opinion that has since changed considerably. Forty years ago, clinical entities such as dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder, and premenstrual dysphoria were not yet identified as such, or were known under different names, often referring to the broad category of neurosis rather than mood disorders. Panic disorder, under the label of neurosis, was treated with MAOIs by French clinicians, a few years after the discovery of these compounds. In the USA, Klein and Fink7 used tricyclic antidepressants in 180 inpatients and selected 14 of them retrospectively, on the basis of astute observations that led to the description of panic attacks. Other early indications for tricyclic, antidepressants were enuresis in children and premature ejaculation.