Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence

  • Share
  • Read Later

Pills falling in a tube

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.  Here are the top ten offenders:

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. (More on Time.com: Adderall May Not Make You Smarter, But It Makes You Think You Are)

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. (More on Time.com: Healthland’s Guide to Life 2011)

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.

Related Links:

Placebos Work Even if You Know They’re Fake: But How?

What Does Meth Research Have to Do With Addiction and Autism Treatments? (It’s Oxytocin.)

Powerful Hallucinogen Eyed as Treatment for Alzheimer’s, Chronic Pain

10 comments
nubwaxer
nubwaxer

i feel fine taking generic welbutrin (bupropion), generic prozac (fluoxetine), and trazodone (great sleep aid originally used as anti depressant).  actually, meth gives users an immediate feeling of well being and its pharmaceutical equivalent has use for treating severely depressed people.

Bethsimmons5245
Bethsimmons5245

Cymbalta - Duloxetine should be on the list. I lost someone because of this drug and I am not alone. Google Traci Johnson Slate. Yes, there is depression but adding rat poison (psychotropics) does not help. Every pharmaceutical drug comes with a side effect (s). Many harm the organs especially over a long period of time. The fact is the clinic trials have not been done on people over a long period of time for most of these "approved"  drugs so whoever is taking them is taking part in a grand experiment. Think of all the drugs "approved" by the FDA that have been recalled. Google breggin dot com, drug awareness dot com, ssris stories dot com.

Bethsimmons5245
Bethsimmons5245

Join us on Facebook at Prescription Drug Dangers for support or to help those who are in various stages of awareness.



CarynTalty
CarynTalty

I have closely watched the SSRI debate since the 2008 Valentine's Day massacre at NIU. This is the same school where I graduated with my master's degree in 2002. I had taken classes in the very room that the shooting took place in. This tragedy hit me hard. I have always been suspicious of SSRI drugs since then. Surprisingly, the issue of SSRI drug safety and efficiency has been taking out of the national debate, even after so many more shootings since 2008. I recently read Dr. William J. Walsh's book Nutrient Power. I found myself nodding my head when I read his theory on depression being caused by 5 different biochemical types of imbalance. What he says makes sense and explains how SSRIs can help some and make some people more depressed and suicidal or homicidal. I can't believe that all it takes to find out whether SSRIs are right for you is an inexpensive urine and blood screening. I don't understand why more people don't do this.

JonathanBigras-Benjamin
JonathanBigras-Benjamin

AbinicoWarez
It does cure depression in some cases, it just depends on what the depression is caused by. It's the same reason why it often takes 3 or 4 drugs to be tested on an individual before getting the right one, because it all depends where the neurological dysfunction occurs (at the axons of synapses). For some it might be the number of
neurotransmitters that are too low (usually a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor is needed), sometimes its the receptors that are too low, and other times its the auto-receptors that are too low, etc. Sometimes it's not directly related to serotonin production in the brain, but a related neurotransmitter. Your own suggestion might not work on many
cases, because it doesn't target the actual problem.

Environment is also the greatest trigger for most neurological dysfunctions. Taking any of these drugs while remaining stressed and having high levels of glucocorticoids, epinephrine and norepinephrine, will not have the desired effects. I suggest that you read on the subject before proclaiming anything.

AbinicoWarez
AbinicoWarez

Before trying these drugs which have side effects bad enough to make you even more depressed, try lithium orotate, an organic form with none of the side effects of the original lithium salt. Available on amazon - you can easily take 2X to 4X the recommended amount without any issues - it is not a pharmaceutical!

AbinicoWarez
AbinicoWarez

Please also note - these drugs cure NOTHING. Got depression - get off aspartame, MSG, hydrogenated oils, etc, etc.

psychbuseuk
psychbuseuk

@CarynTalty Very true.  I have met Dr Walsh at the Chy Sawel Conference and none of 14 mind altering drugs tried out on my daughter have worked. It is very true what you say and I have seen what they can do for myself.  Now I demand a proper assessment and this has been agreed.  It is possible that my daughter could be over methylated and it is no wonder then that the drugs do not work.  I am sorting this all out right  now and giving this publicity in the UK. 

lsyorke
lsyorke

@JonathanBigras-Benjamin 

This all sounds very logical, but since there currently isn't a "test" to identify what you are describing, it remains guesswork. I don't remember anyone reporting their "number of neurotransmitters" were tested prior to prescribing. Nice sound bite for a commercial but not based in scientific testing as it stands today.