TIME Magazine on Psych Drugs and Violence

Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence

By Maia Szalavitz Friday, January 7, 2011

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.

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.

10. Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) An antidepressant which affects both serotonin and noradrenaline, this drug is 7.9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.

9. Venlafaxine (Effexor) A drug related to Pristiq in the same class of antidepressants, both are also used to treat anxiety disorders. Effexor is 8.3 times more likely than other drugs to be related to violent behavior.

8. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) An antidepressant that affects serotonin (SSRI), Luvox is 8.4 times more likely than other medications to be linked with violence

7.Triazolam (Halcion) A benzodiazepine which can be addictive, used to treat insomnia. Halcion is 8.7 times more likely to be linked with violence than other drugs, according to the study.

6) Atomoxetine (Strattera) Used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Strattera affects the neurotransmitter noradrenaline and is 9 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to the average medication.

5) Mefoquine (Lariam) A treatment for malaria, Lariam has long been linked with reports of bizarre behavior. It is 9.5 times more likely to be linked with violence than other drugs.

4) Amphetamines: (Various) Amphetamines are used to treat ADHD and affect the brain’s dopamine and noradrenaline systems. They are 9.6 times more likely to be linked to violence, compared to other drugs.

3) Paroxetine (Paxil) An SSRI antidepressant, Paxil is also linked with more severe withdrawal symptoms and a greater risk of birth defects compared to other medications in that class. It is 10.3 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to other drugs.

2) Fluoxetine (Prozac) The first well-known SSRI antidepressant, Prozac is 10.9 times more likely to be linked with violence in comparison with other medications.

1) Varenicline (Chantix) The anti-smoking medication Chantix affects the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, which helps reduce craving for smoking. Unfortunately, it’s 18 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to other drugs — by comparison, that number for Xyban is 3.9 and just 1.9 for nicotine replacement. Because Chantix is slightly superior in terms of quit rates in comparison to other drugs, it shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out as an option for those trying to quit, however.

8 thoughts on “TIME Magazine on Psych Drugs and Violence

  1. I have had genetic tests performed for CYP450 metabolising enzymes, (2D6, 2C9 and 2C19) on 100 normal folk had become suicidal and homicidal (and hallucinated) on antidepressants and antipsychotics or had other serious Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs). I found that 98 could not metabolise these drugs because they lacked relevant genes. I have no tested Champix or Lariam subjects. Those with normal genes were on multiples of standard dose and polypharmacy, and their metabolism was overloaded, often with inhibitors of these metabolising enzymes. Most got polypharmacy (multiple drugs) as well, after they had become violent and suicidal, and it made their condition worse.
    I have tested 10 formerly normal folk who killed mindlessly on anti depressants and all have serious genetic problems.
    10 is not convincing to some so I need more medication induced akathisia-homicide perpetrators and akathisia-suicide cases where DNA is still available. Whether these drugs cause suicide or homicide just depends on which way the gun is pointed. It is the same phenomenon.
    This is a situation where the medical profession does not want to know, medical journals do not want to publish, and authorities do not want to hear. My colleagues and treat me with a 21st century version of how they treated Ignasz Semmelweiss who discovered in the mid 19th Century, before Pasteur, that doctors brought in unseen germs on their hands and fatally infected women during childbirth.
    My experience with Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Risperidal (risperidone) is that they are as bad as Effexor in causing violence to self, causing suicide or homicide, as Effexor, but this gets blamed on the presumed schizophrenia being treated. Persons with mental illness were neither more suicidal or homicidal then the population before we indiscriminately started to use medications, which are catastrophic for the minority who carry these faulty genes.

  2. Amy,

    Finally.
    The truth is beginning to leak out.

    Wake-up call.
    Psychiatric drugs are dangerous.

    One more time, for the NAMI crowd.
    Psychiatric drugs are dangerous !!!

    Duane Sherry, M.S.
    discoverandrecover.wordpress.com

    P.S.: Friends don’t let friends join NAMI.

  3. I have had genetic tests performed for CYP450 metabolising enzymes, (2D6, 2C9 and 2C19) on over 100 normal folk had become suicidal and homicidal (and hallucinated) on antidepressants and antipsychotics or had other serious Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs). I found that 98 could not metabolise these drugs because they lacked relevant genes. I have no tested Champix or Lariam subjects. Those with normal genes were on multiples of standard dose and polypharmacy, and their metabolism was overloaded, often with inhibitors of these metabolising enzymes. Most got polypharmacy (multiple drugs) as well, after they had become violent and suicidal, and it made their condition worse.
    I have tested 10 formerly normal folk who killed mindlessly on anti depressants and all have serious genetic problems.
    10 in a row is not convincing to some so I need more medication induced akathisia-homicide perpetrators and akathisia-suicide cases where DNA is still available. Whether these drugs cause suicide or homicide just depends on which way the gun is pointed. It is the same neurotoxic phenomenon. Akathisia.
    This is a situation where the medical profession does not want to know, medical journals do not want to publish, and authorities do not want to hear. My colleagues and treat me with a 21st century version of how they treated Ignasz Semmelweiss who discovered in the mid 19th Century, before Pasteur, that doctors brought in unseen germs on their hands and fatally infected women during childbirth.
    My experience with Zyprexa (olanzapine), Risperidal (risperidone) and Seroquel (quetiapine) is that they are as bad as Effexor in causing violence to self, causing suicide or homicide, as Effexor, but this gets blamed on the presumed “schizophrenia” being treated. Persons with mental illness were neither more suicidal or homicidal than the general population (there were no guards on psychiatric wards before Prozac) before we indiscriminately started to use medications that are catastrophic for the minority who carry these faulty genes while failing to recognize their adverse side effects the most dangerous of which is (recurring) akathisa,

  4. Yolandi, how can people volunteer for your study?
    Is it required that subjects must have completed the violent acts?

  5. I have been testing both referred folk and volunteers using the criterion for testing that they had developed akathisia with suicidal and homicidal ideation and acts on antidepressants prescribed for stress, ie people who had no mental illness or violence before, also I tested those who became akathisic on antipsychotics prescribed for amphetamine or cannabis induced states,

    The source is is immaterial the criterion for testing is the serious adverse event.

  6. Concurred. Treatment is not simply drugs, with their side effects, nor even trying out a cocktail until something works. Yolande Lucire- I simply cannot believe that you found that some people simply could not metabolize drugs. It just sort of makes the whole drug scene seem so much of a crapshoot!

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