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A tranquilizer[1] refers to a drug which is designed for the treatment of anxiety, fear, tension, agitation, and disturbances of the mind,[2] specifically to reduce states of anxiety and tension.[3]

Tranquilizer, as a term, was brought into existence by F.F. Yonkman (1953),[4][5] from the conclusions of investigative studies using the drug Reserpine, showed the drug had a calming effect on all animals it was administered to. Reserpine, is a Centrally Acting Rauwolfia Alkaloid.[6] The word directly refers to the state of tranquility in a person and other animals.[7]

The term is thought to belong to a lexicon of words[8] thought popular or so-called common, and so is therefore accordingly thought as not generally in use within the field of medicine, specifically in reference to the group of medications known as anti-psychotic or neuroleptics.[9]

The term is generally used as a synonym for sedative. When used by health care professionals, it is usually qualified or replaced with more precise terms:

Mood stabilizers might also be considered to belong to the classification of tranquilizing agents.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ also spelled tranquillizer (Oxford spelling) and tranquilliser (other UK spelling); see spelling differences
  2. ^ Brittanica article - tranquilizerEncyclopædia Britannica Accessed October 12th, 2017
  3. ^ D. Coon, J.O. Mitterer - Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior page 207 Cengage Learning, 29 December 2008 ISBN 0495599115 Accessed October 12th, 2017
  4. ^ D. Healy - The Creation of Psychopharmacology page 99 Harvard University Press, 2009 ISBN 0674038452 page 99 Accessed October 14th, 2017
  5. ^ D. Healy - Medicating Modern America: Prescription Drugs in History page 54 NYU Press, 8 January 2007 ISBN 0814783473 Accessed October 14th, 2017
  6. ^ H.J. Bein - Psychotropic Agents: Part I: Antipsychotics and Antidepressants Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology page 46 Springer Science & Business Media, 6th December 2012 ISBN 3642675387 Accessed October 14th, 2017
  7. ^ "tranquilizer" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  8. ^ Accessed October 12th, 2017
  9. ^ J. Scott Werry (29th June 2013) - Practitioner’s Guide to Psychoactive Drugs for Children and Adolescents Springer Science & Business Media ISBN 1489900861 Accessed October 12th, 2017
  10. ^ "WordNet Search - 3.0". Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  11. ^ Tranquilizing+Agents at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)