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BACKGROUND: Understanding the interactions between the gut microbiome and psychotropic medications (psycho-pharmacomicrobiomics) could improve treatment stratification strategies in psychiatry. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we first explored whether psychotropics modify the gut microbiome; second, we investigated whether the gut microbiome affects the efficacy and tolerability of psychotropics. METHODS: Following PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines, we searched (November 2022) for longitudinal and cross-sectional studies that investigated the effect of psychotropics on the gut microbiome. The primary outcome was the difference in diversity metrics (alpha and beta) before and after treatment with psychotropics (longitudinal studies) and in medicated compared with unmedicated individuals (cross-sectional studies). Secondary outcomes included the association between gut microbiome and efficacy and tolerability outcomes. Random effect meta-analyses were conducted on alpha diversity metrics, while beta diversity metrics were pooled using distance data extracted from graphs. Summary statistics included standardized mean difference and Higgins I2 for alpha diversity metrics and F and R values for beta diversity metrics. RESULTS: Nineteen studies were included in our synthesis; 12 investigated antipsychotics and 7 investigated antidepressants. Results showed significant changes in alpha (4 studies; standard mean difference: 0.12; 95% CI: 0.01-0.23; p = .04; I2: 14%) and beta (F = 15.59; R2 = 0.05; p < .001) diversity metrics following treatment with antipsychotics and antidepressants, respectively. Altered gut microbiome composition at baseline was associated with tolerability and efficacy outcomes across studies, including response to antidepressants (2 studies; alpha diversity; standard mean difference: 2.45; 95% CI: 0.50-4.40; p < .001, I2: 0%). CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with psychotropic medications is associated with altered gut microbiome composition, and the gut microbiome may in turn influence the efficacy and tolerability of these medications.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Psychiatry

Publication Date



Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Depression, Microbiome, Precision psychiatry, Psychosis