By 1957 the ataractics or tranquilizers were widely used in the treatment of many mental diseases, including schizophrenia and the neuroses. There was, however, little change in the treatment of the depressive syndromes. The treatment of choice remained electroshock for the psychotic depressions. Psychotherapy was recommended for neurotic depressions, with the assistance of amphetamines for symptomatic relief. Thus the initial reports of Kline of the usefulness of iproniazid in depression in 19571 were enthusiastically received, as it appeared that we could now extend the use of the psychopharmacologic agents into another type of mental illness, the depressions.
Iproniazid had been synthesized by Fox in 19512 as part of a deliberate search for new antituberculosis drugs. It was first used in the treatment of tuberculosis by Selikoff, Robitzek, and Ornstein3 and found to possess definite antituberculosis activity. In the same paper reporting this use,