Chapter 2 Life-long consequences of juvenile exposure to psychotropic drugs on brain and behavior Academic Article uri icon


  • Psychostimulants such as methylphenidate (MPH) and antidepressants such as fluoxetine (FLX) are widely used in the treatment of various mental disorders or as cognitive enhancers. These medications are often combined, for example, to treat comorbid disorders. There is a considerable body of evidence from animal models indicating that individually these psychotropic medications can have detrimental effects on the brain and behavior, especially when given during sensitive periods of brain development. However, almost no studies investigate possible interactions between these drugs. This is surprising given that their combined neurochemical effects (enhanced dopamine and serotonin neurotransmission) mimic some effects of illicit drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine. Here, we summarize recent studies in juvenile rats on the molecular effects in the mid- and forebrain and associated behavioral changes, after such combination treatments. Our findings indicate that these combined MPH+FLX treatments can produce similar molecular changes as seen after cocaine exposure while inducing behavioral changes indicative of dysregulated mood and motivation, effects that often endure into adulthood.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Steiner, H., Warren, B. L., Van Waes, V., & Bolaños-Guzmán, C. A.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • January 2014