Top 10 Legal Psychiatric & Other

Drugs Linked to Violence

Resourses for Replacing 'Mental Disease'
with Democratic Rights



by Maia Szalavitz



The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) recently published a study in the journal PLoS One highlighting the worst prescription drug offenders that cause patients to become violent. Among the top-ten most dangerous are the antidepressants Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine).


Concerns about the extreme negative side effects of many popular antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs have been on the rise, as these drugs not only cause severe health problems to users, but also pose a significant threat to society. The ISMP report indicates that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System, many popular drugs are linked even to homicides.


Most of the drugs in the top ten most dangerous are antidepressants, but also included are an insomnia medication, an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug, a malaria drug and an anti-smoking medication.


As reported in Time, the top ten list is as follows:


    10. Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) - An antidepressant that affects serotonin and noradrenaline. The drug is 7.9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


    9. Venlafaxine (Effexor) - An antidepressant that treats anxiety disorders. The drug is 8.3 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


    8. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) - A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug that is 8.4 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


    7. Triazolam (Halcion) - A benzodiazepine drug for insomnia that is 8.7 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


    6. Atomoxetine (Strattera) - An ADHD drug that is 9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


    5. Mefoquine (Lariam) - A malaria drug that is 9.5 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


    4. Amphetamines - This general class of ADHD drug is 9.6 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


    3. Paroxetine (Paxil) - An SSRI antidepressant drug that is 10.3 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs. It is also linked to severe withdrawal symptoms and birth defects.


    2. Fluoxetine (Prozac) - A popular SSRI antidepressant drug that is 10.9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


    1. Varenicline (Chantix) - An anti-smoking drug that is a shocking 18 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.


When people consider the connections between drugs and violence, what typically comes to mind are illegal drugs like crack cocaine. However, certain medications most notably, some antidepressants like Prozac have also been linked to increase risk for violent, even homicidal behavior. A new study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices published in the journal PloS One and based on data from the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System has identified 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked with reports of violent behavior towards others. (More on Time.com: New Hope For An Anti-Cocaine Vaccine)


Please note that this does not necessarily mean that these drugs cause violent behavior. For example, in the case of opioid pain medications like Oxycontin, people with a prior history of violent behavior may seek drugs in order to sustain an addiction, which they support via predatory crime. In the case of antipsychotics, the drugs may be given in an attempt to reduce violence by people suffering from schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders so the drugs here might not be causing violence, but could be linked with it because they're used to try to stop it.


Nonetheless, when one particular drug in a class of nonaddictive drugs used to treat the same problem stands out, that suggests caution: unless the drug is being used to treat radically different groups of people, that drug may actually be the problem. Researchers calculated a ratio of risk for each drug compared to the others in the database, adjusting for various relevant factors that could create misleading comparisons.


http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/07/top-ten-legal-drugs-linked-to-violence/#ixzz1B6bqDKXb



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Copyright © 2010 Maia Szalavitz - All Rights Reserved

Last updated on 1 February 2011