The term 'psychopharmacology' was coined as early as 1920, by David Macht, but it was not until three decades later that the discipline started to develop in a substantial way. The fortuitous discovery of the first antipsychotics and antidepressants, in the 1950s, presented new horizons and gave impetus to the study of drug treatments in psychiatry. In the 1980s, advances in the basic neurosciences, and especially in the characterisation of neurotransmitter receptors, are presenting new opportunities for understanding the biology of mental illness and for designing new drug treatments. This article reviews the evidence linking the action of antidepressant drugs to the regulation of neurotransmitter receptors. We then show how this information has led to a pharmacologic model (melatonin secretion by the human pineal) for the study of antidepressants in depressed patients. Finally, we outline how pharmacologic exploitation of neurotransmitter receptors might lead to new approaches for the design of novel antidepressant drugs.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Drug Design and Delivery|
|Publication status||Published - 1988|