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Where do antidepressants come from? Part 2: the tricyclics

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After my previous article on the discovery of MAO inhibitors, I had several queries about tricyclic antidepressants, which were released at about the same time.

Their saga isn’t as colorful, in that it didn’t start with rocket fuel, but it’s interesting in its own way, as tricyclics were stumbled upon while looking for a new antipsychotic; in turn, a later search for new antidepressants led to the truly accidental discovery of the antipsychotic clozapine, bringing the story full circle.

In the early 1950s, when there was a great deal of interest in antihistamines and chlorpromazine, scientists at the Swiss pharmaceutical house Geigy were exploring chemical variations on the chlorpromazine molecule for possible use as a sedative or

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