Antidepressants and ADHD Drugs Top List of Most Violence-Inducing Drugs
Please note that antidepressants are not the only type of drugs associated with violent, homicidal behavior, but they are among the most common suspects. A study by the Institute of Safe Medication Practices published in 2010 identified no less than 31 commonly-prescribed drugs that are disproportionately associated with cases of violent acts. Topping the list is the quit-smoking drug Chantix, followed by Prozac and Paxil, and drugs used to treat ADHD.
The data was collected from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), and it’s well worth noting here that only an estimated one to 10 percent of all side effects are ever reported to VAERS, so the fact that more than 1,500 violent acts were actually reported as being linked to any given drug is pretty amazing. The vast majority of side effects, regardless of what they are, are typically blamed on something else and connections are brushed aside as “coincidental.”
In all, five of the top 10 most violence-inducing drugs were found to be antidepressants:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
- Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
According to Professor Healy, a study by the Drug Safety Research Unit in Southampton showed that one in every 250 subjects taking Paxil or Prozac were involved in a violent episode. In a study group of 25,000 people, this included 31 assaults and one homicide. In 2011, a whopping 14 million prescriptions for Paxil and more than 25.5 million prescriptions for Prozac were written.11 This could potentially equate to some 158,000 drug-induced incidents of violence annually from these two drugs alone. As reported in the featured article:12
“Another study involving more than 9,000 subjects taking the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) for depression and other disorders showed that subjects experienced more than twice as many ‘hostility events’ as subjects taking a placebo.” … Healy suspects that the main causal factor behind suicide and violence toward others is increased mental and/or physical agitation, which leads about five percent of subjects taking antidepressants to drop out of clinical trials, compared to only 0.5 percent of people on placebos.”
Another two in that top 10 list of violence-promoting drugs are commonly-prescribed ADHD medications (including Strattera). When you consider that antidepressants and ADHD drugs are among the most prescribed types of drugs in the US, the fact that so many of them are linked to increased rates of violence should be cause for pause.
Besides an increased risk of violent episodes, ADHD drugs such as Ritalin, Vyvanse, Strattera, and Adderall (and their generic equivalents) are also responsible for nearly 23,000 emergency room visits annually, as of 2011 statistics. Over a mere six-year span, there’s been a 400 percent increase in ER visits due to side effects of these drugs.