2006 issue 4


Volume 15, issue 4

Review article

Understanding of the action ofpsychotropic drugs by psychoanalytically-oriented researchers in the early years of contemporary pharmacotherapy

Sławomir Murawiec1
1. III Klinika Psychiatryczna Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2006; 15 (4): 309-276
Keywords: schizophrenia, pharmacotherapy, history


Background. The paper is aimed at a search for and analysis of alternative to those presently predominating ways of thinking about pharmacotherapy of mental disorders.

Review. Reviewed publications are concerned with the beginnings of pharmacotherapy in clinical practice, mostly in the treatment of schizophrenia. The papers published in the years 1955-1961 by psychoanalytically-oriented authors from a Canadian center deal with the following pharmaceuticals: reserpine, levomepromazine, trifluoperazine, and azacyclonol .

Conclusions. The authors differentiate between a non-individualised pharmacological action of a medicine and its individual therapeutic effect in the context of the patient 's global situation. On the grounds of observation an attempt was also made to answer the question whether administration of a medicine results in a change in the natural course of the disease. A two-stage action of pharmacotherapy was assumed. According to the authors' way of thinking, the biological effect of any drug is only an introduction to the final therapy outcome. The latter depends on "fitting " the drug action into a configuration of the patient 's personal, familial and social determinants. Moreover, transference- and countertransference-related factors and their the importance for the therapy outcome were commented upon. Sometimes it is the patient-doctor relationship or the doctor's intrapsychic characteristics that determine the pharmacotherapy outcome.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Sławomir Murawiec, III Klinika Psychiatryczna Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii, ul. Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warszawa, e-mail: murawiec@ipin.edu.pl