ISMP list names legal drugs linked to violence

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has identified antidepressants with serotonergic effects as the category leader among legal drugs linked to violence. In a study based on data from the FDA's adverse event reporting system, ISMP finds that 31 drugs are "disproportionately linked" with reports of violent behavior towards others.

Although antidepressants are the largest drug category on the list, an anti-smoking medication--Chantix--is the overall winner at 18 times more likely to be linked with violence compared with other drugs. That's four times greater than competitor Xyban, reports Time magazine. But Chantix boasts a higher success rate.

ISMP senior scientist Thomas Moore and fellow authors from Harvard Medical School and Wake Forest University present their results in the PLoS One journal. They used an open-source MySQL database to maintain data and open-source software from the R-Project for Statistical Computing for analysis.

Findings show an increased risk for violent, even homicidal, behavior among those who take the antidepressants Prozac, Pristiq and Paxil. The researchers clarify that the listed drugs are linked with violence, not that they cause it. In fact, some ct are used to treat conditions accompanied by violence, so their linkage is expected.

But others on the list, like opioid pain medications, are sometimes sought by people with a history of violent behavior who seek the drugs to sustain an addiction, reports Time magazine. Some support their addiction via predatory crime.

Here's the top 10 list:

  • Varenicline (Chantix), anti-smoking medication;

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac), SSRI antidepressant;

  • Paroxetine (Paxil), SSRI antidepressant;

  • Amphetamines (various), ADHD treatment;

  • Mefoquine (Lariam), malaria treatment;

  • Atomoxetine (Strattera), ADHD treatment;

  • Triazolam (Halcion), insomnia treatment;

  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox), SSRI antidepressant;

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor), antidepressant/anxiety treatment; and 

  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), antidepressant/anxiety treatment.

- see the Time article
- here's the PloS One paper

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