ADHD - An Illustrated historical overview

B orn in Italy in 1907, Leandro Paniz- zon grew up in Milan and studied chemistry at the University of Basel . Having completed his dissertation and postdoctoral study in Birmingham, Panizzon was hired by the Swiss phar- maceutical company CIBA, where he was in charge of researching nitroge- nous organic compounds, particularly derivatives of pyridine. One of his early successes was the discovery (together with Marx Hartmann) of a diuretic in the 1930s, later marketed under the brand name Esidron . His masterpiece, however, was the synthesis of methyl- phenidate in 1944. While he was not overly impressed by the results of a self-experiment, the enthusiasm of his wife Marguerite, nicknamed Rita, was greater, and she enjoyed the stimu- lating effects of the substance before playing tennis. Panizzon thus named the substance Ritaline , also its brand name when CIBA introduced it in Ger- many and Switzerland in 1954, pro- moting the drug as a psychotonicum to relieve chronic fatigue and mild de- pressions. The Italian Leandro Panizzon at work in 1937. All photos courtesy of Firmenarchiv Novartis AG, Basel, Switzerland. A box of Ritaline for the Turkish market. Building 122 of CIBA Pharmaceuticals in Basel in 1952, where Panizzon’s laboratory was located. Panizzon’s famous article in the Helvetica Chimica Acta.

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