We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Commentary |

The Loss of Serendipity in Psychopharmacology

Donald F. Klein, MD, DSc
JAMA. 2008;299(9):1063-1065. doi:10.1001/jama.299.9.1063.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


This Commentary on the psychopharmacological revolution focuses on 2 mysteries: fostering medication discovery and finding out how they work. When I entered psychiatric training in 1953 at Creedmoor State Hospital, a 6000-bed institution with few therapeutic aspirations, psychotropic drugs were an impossible dream. For those individuals who have not had such an experience, an extremely morbid imagination is needed to conjure up that bedlam. It was rendered just tolerable by knowing that this training made one fit to be a candidate psychoanalyst. The next 2 years were spent at the US Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, a 1000-bed federal therapeutic prison for opioid addicts, which amazingly included the most advanced center for human psychopharmacological experimentation in the world. The Addiction Research Center, led by the rigorous scientists Wikler and Isbell,1 incisively demanded objective, unbiased work and conducted pioneering studies of chlorpromazine, reserpine, and lysergic acid diethylamide.

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

35 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles