Effect of neuropsychiatric medications on mitochondrial function: For better or for worse

Tim L. Emmerzaal, Gerben Nijkamp, Marin Veldic, Shamima Rahman, Ana Cristina Andreazza, Eva Morava, Richard J. Rodenburg, Tamas Kozicz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Individuals with mitochondrial disease often present with psychopathological comorbidity, and mitochondrial dysfunction has been proposed as the underlying pathobiology in various psychiatric disorders. Several studies have suggested that medications used to treat neuropsychiatric disorders could directly influence mitochondrial function. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the effect of these medications on mitochondrial function. We collected preclinical information on six major groups of antidepressants and other neuropsychiatric medications and found that the majority of these medications either positively influenced mitochondrial function or showed mixed effects. Only amitriptyline, escitalopram, and haloperidol were identified as having exclusively adverse effects on mitochondrial function. In the absence of formal clinical trials, and until such trials are completed, the data from preclinical studies reported and discussed here could inform medication prescribing practices for individuals with psychopathology and impaired mitochondrial function in the underlying pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-571
Number of pages17
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Antidepressive agents
  • Drugs
  • Electron transport chain complex proteins
  • In vivo studies
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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