Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence

| January 6 2013
Christopher Cook

Apropos of the matter addressed in a previous post—namely, the potential link between antidepressant drugs and violent behavior—I recalled having read this some time ago:

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.

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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 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 . . .

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This may be something that we need to take a long, hard look at. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. A gun is just a tool. But if these drugs are making people violent, or bringing out violent tendencies that otherwise would stay dormant, then it is causing the people themselves to become dangerous to others.

I am not at the point of blaming drugs for violence. I am not yet taking a position; I need more data. For now, this is an interesting subject, though the contention is perhaps not too surprising. After all, should we be shocked that drugs designed to alter brain chemistry are . . . well, altering brain chemistry?