Chantix, Paxil and Prozac Lead List of Drugs Linked to Violent Behavior

A new study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) suggests a link between some prescription drugs and violent behavior, according to a report from Suite 101.

According to the ISMP study “Acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small group of drugs. <"">Chantix (varenicline) which increases the availability of dopamine, and antidepressants with serotonergic effects were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs,” quoted Suite 101. Some 31 prescription drugs were linked as potentially causing violent behavior in the study, with the anti-depressants Pristiq, <"">Paxil, and <"">Prozac leading the top ten list, said Suite 101, which included the following:

• Chantix (generic: varenicline): Approved in the U.S. by the FDA in 2006 as a treatment for smoking cessation, Chantix blocks nicotine by targeting the brain’s nicotine receptors. About a year after being on the market, reports began emerging about patients exhibiting strange and dangerous behavior while on Chantix; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received a number of adverse event reports and issued information on the potential risks. This study revealed that Chantix is a whopping 18 times likelier to be associated with “violence and aggression” versus other drugs, said Suite 101.

• Prozac (fluoxetine), an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant, was found to be 10.9 times likelier to be linked with violence versus other drugs, said Suite 101. Of note, we have long written that psychotropic medications, including Prozac, have also been linked to an increased risk of birth defects.

• Paxil (paroxetine): Another popular SSRI antidepressant, is linked to “severe withdrawal symptoms and a greater risk of birth defects” versus other medications, said Suite 101. We previously wrote that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the maker of Paxil, agreed to pay in excess of $1 billion to settle over 800 lawsuits over claims of birth defects linked to Paxil. Another 100 cases were pending at the time of this particular settlement.

The ISMP study also found that amphetamines, in general, which are used to treat those with ADHD and, which affect the dopamine and noradenenaline systems in the brain, are 9.6 times likelier to be linked to violence. Lariam (mefoquine), a malaria drug, is known for adverse effects such as “severe depression, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, nightmares, insomnia, seizures, birth defects. and hallucinations,” said Suite 101 and was, in this study, found to be 9.5 times likelier to be linked with violence.

ADHD medication Strattera (atomoxetin) was found to be 9 times likelier to be linked to violence versus insomnia medication, benzodiazepine; Halcion (triazolam) was found to be 8.7 times likelier to cause violence and is also known to cause “headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, and suicidal thoughts,” said Suite 101.

The SSRI antidepressant Luvox (fluvoxamine) was found to be 8.4 times likelier to be linked with violence while Effexor (venlafaxine), another anti-depressant that also treats anxiety, was found to be 8.3 times likelier to be connected to violent behaviors, said Suite 101. Pristia (desvenlafaxine), and antidepressant drug that affects serotonin and noradrenaline, was found to be 7.9 times more likely to be linked to violence, wrote Suite 101.

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