Tricyclic antidepressant  

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Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are heterocyclic chemical compounds used primarily as antidepressants. The TCAs were first discovered in the early 1950s and were subsequently introduced later in the decade; They are named after their chemical structure, which contains three rings of atoms. The tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs), which contain four rings of atoms, are a closely related group of antidepressant compounds.

In recent times, the TCAs have been largely replaced in clinical use in most parts of the world by newer antidepressants such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which typically have more favourable side-effects profiles, though they are still sometimes prescribed for certain indications.

List of TCAs

The TCAs include the following agents which are predominantly serotonin and/or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors:

As well as the following atypical compounds:

History

The TCAs were developed amid the "explosive birth" of psychopharmacology in the early 1950s. The story begins with the synthesis of chlorpromazine in December 1950 by Rhône-Poulenc's chief chemist, Paul Charpentier, from synthetic antihistamines developed by Rhône-Poulenc in the 1940s. Its psychiatric effects were first noticed at a hospital in Paris in 1952. The first widely-used psychiatric drug, by 1955 it was already generating significant revenue as an antipsychotic. Research chemists quickly began to explore other derivatives of chlorpromazine.

The first TCA reported for the treatment of depression was imipramine, a dibenzazepine analogue of chlorpromazine code-named G22355. It was not originally targeted for the treatment of depression. The drug's tendency to induce manic effects was "later described as 'in some patients, quite disastrous'". The paradoxical observation of a sedative inducing mania led to testing with depressed patients. The first trial of imipramine took place in 1955 and the first report of antidepressant effects was published by Swiss psychiatrist Ronald Kuhn in 1957. Some testing of Geigy’s imipramine, then known as Tofranil, took place at the Münsterlingen Hospital near Konstanz. Geigy later became Ciba-Geigy and eventually Novartis.

Dibenzazepine derivatives are described in U.S. patent 3,074,931 issued 1963-01-22 by assignment to Smith Kline & French Laboratories. The compounds described share a tricyclic backbone different from the backbone of the TCA amitriptyline.

Merck introduced the second member of the TCA family, amitriptyline (Elavil), in 1961. This compound has a different three-ring structure from imipramine.

Many patents were filed in the 1950s and 1960s concerning variations on these three-ring structures with applications to psychiatric conditions.

These patents cover the structures of the compounds and their mode of chemical synthesis. Understanding of their mode of action as re-uptake inhibitors and development of the serotonin theory of depression came in the years to follow.


See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tricyclic antidepressant" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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