Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Apathy is a disabling syndrome associated with poor functional outcomes that is common across a broad range of neurological and psychiatric conditions. Currently, there are no established therapies specifically for the condition, and safe and effective treatments are urgently needed. Advances in the understanding of motivation and goal-directed behavior in humans and animals have shed light on the cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms contributing to apathy, providing an important foundation for the development of new treatments. Here, we review the cognitive components, neural circuitry, and pharmacology of apathy and motivation, highlighting converging evidence of shared transdiagnostic mechanisms. Though no pharmacological treatments have yet been licensed, we summarize trials of existing and novel compounds to date, identifying several promising candidates for clinical use and avenues of future drug development. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Volume 64 is January 2024. Please see for revised estimates.

Original publication




Journal article


Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol

Publication Date