Last weekend, I saw on most of the major networks multimillion dollar advertisements of the smoking cessation aid called Chantix. I also remember reading recent reports about some of the most commonly prescribed drugs that are associated with violence and violent crimes.
Although my lead came from the Mercola emailed newsletter, I will focus on the primary source of Mercola’s report, a Time article, and others. The source is a multi-authored medical research report
published by the online professional journal Plos One. The title of the report is “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others.”
The medical researchers identified 484 drugs that accounted for 780,169 serious adverse event reports. Of these reports, 1,937 cases met their violence criteria. The violence cases included 387 reports of homicide, 404 physical assaults, 27 cases indicating physical abuse, 896 homicidal ideation reports, and 223 cases described as violence-related symptoms. The patients were 41% female and 59% male with a mean age of 36 years.
Among 484 evaluable drugs, 31 drugs met the researchers’ criteria for a disproportionate association with violence, and accounted for 1527 (79%) of the 1937 violence cases. The drugs are listed in Table 1. They include varenicline (a smoking cessation aid), 11 antidepressant drugs, 3 drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and 5 hypnotic/sedatives. No violence cases were reported for 324 (66.9%) of the 484 of all evaluable drugs. Thus, for 84.7% of all evaluable drugs in widespread clinical use, an association with violence appeared highly unlikely.
Let’s identify the top 12 drugs of the 31 mentioned above and their better known brand names:
Quite Smoking Prescription Drug:
Verenicline is none other than Chantix, the highly advertised “quit smoking” drug.
Attention Deficit Disorder Prescription Drugs:
Amphetamines for ADHD include AdderAll, DextroStat, Dextedrine, and Vyvanse
Atomoxetine is better known as Strattera
Anti-Depressants Prescription Drugs:
Fluoxetine is Prozac also known as Reconcile, Rapidflux, Sarafem, and Selfemra
Paroxetine goes by the trade names of Paxil and Pexeva
Fluvoxemine goes by the trade name of Luvox
Venlafaxine goes by the trade name of Effexor
Desvenlafaxine goes by the trade name of Pristiq
*Sertraline is better known by brand names Zoloft and Lustral
Escitalopram is called Lexapro as well as Cipralex, Seroplex, Lexamil, Lexam
Hypnotic/Sedative Prescription Drugs:
Trizolam goes by the trade name Halcion and is also known as Apo-Triazo, Hypam, and Trilam
*Zolpidem goes by the trade name Ambien as well as Zolpimist, Edluar, and Tovalt ODT
* The asterisk indicates drugs with the same statistical rating for their association with reports of violent behaviors.
Dr. Mercola provides some perspective on anti-depressant drugs. First, he points out that anti-depressant drugs do not correct the underlying cause of depression. Second, he reveals research proving their never has been any evidence supporting the widely held belief that depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It has always been a marketing ploy to sell drugs to the American public. Third, the risks of taking anti-depressants outweigh the presumed benefits: The risks include damaged to the immune system, developing bipolar depression, and loss of cognitive ability. The risks are very high for 25% to 50% of kids who are taking some form of depressant or ADH medication for five years or more. Fourth, there are other ways of fighting depression, according to Mercola. They include a healthier diet, mental and physical exercises, and similar non-drug remedies. Prayer and meditation have been employed by many people for millenniums as means to resolving emotional issues.