Study shows 31 prescription drugs (mostly psychiatric) associated with reports of violence towards others

This is an old post that still contains critically important information. 

I thought it was a good time to repost this article from a couple of years ago. This is a discussion no one seems to want to have. What happens when a small percentage of the MULTI MILLIONS of people on one of these medications go over the edge? Too often people just think these people are “crazy.” Well, there has been lots of evidence that suggests it might be the drugs they’re taking that send them over the edge.

I don’t know anything about the shooter today, but there are many stories that suggest these impulsive and tragic shooting events have some corellation with psychiatric drug use. See for lots of evidence.

Contrary to popular belief those labeled with mental illnesses are NOT inherently more prone to violence as is popularly believed and in fact in their vulnerability they are often victims of violence rather than perpetrators.

Whatever actually brings someone to violence is likely going to be a complex combination of events and/or causes, but it’s undeniable at this point that psych meds are associated with increased violence in some people.

From AHRP and written by Vera Sharav we now have documented proof of what many of us have been observing for many years.

Here is the commentary Vera Sharav wrote based on the study she links to in the body of her piece (right at the beginning there)


By Vera Sharav:

“Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others, ” identifies 31 drugs linked to 1,527 acts of violence…

After two decades of contentious denials about the suicidal risk posed by certain psychoactive prescription drugs, numerous drugs now carry label warnings about suicidal behavior.

Now, a new study in PLoS One , identifies 31 drugs in FDA’s MedWatch adverse drug reports that are disproportionately linked to 1,527 acts of violence–defined as “Homicide,” “Physical assault,” “Physical abuse,” “Homicidal ideation” or “Violence-related symptom.”

The violence events in these widely prescribed drugs–for diverse patient populations–were reported to the FDA between 2004 and Sept. 2009.

The authors, Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, MD Curt D. Furberg, MD, identified 1,937 reports of violence submitted to FDA’s MedWatch that met a restrictive 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 (SD=17.9)

Of all currently marketed prescription drugs, those linked to most of the violent events reported to the FDA are drugs that increase dopamine and /or serotonin in the brain–irrespective of the patient population.

The worst offender with the strongest association to uncontrollable, murderous violence–within days of ingesting the drug–is the smoking cessation drug, Chantix (varenicline), which increases dopamine: it ranks 18.0 in the proportional reporting ratio (PRR) with 408 cases of violence–including murder.  There are two other smoking cessation drugs that do NOT pose serious risks of violence.

The next drugs most often linked to unprovoked violent outbursts–some resulting in murder–are 11 of 13 SSRI antidepressants. These not so, “magic bullets,” whose mode of action (reuptake inhibition) increases serotonin, were involved in 578 cases of violence.

Two drugs within the SSRI class–Prozac and Paxil--have been linked to the greatest number of reported cases of violence toward others: Prozac ranks 10.9 in the PRR, with 72 reported cases of violence, and Paxil (Paroxetine) ranks 10.2 in PRR, with 177 reported cases of violence.

The authors note that there was no signal for violence linked to mood stabilizers such as valproic acid, carbamazepine, and phenytoin, even though these drugs are commonly used in bipolar patients who may experience psychosis in the acute manic phase and therefore be more prone to violence. On the other hand, SSRI’s, which are clearly linked to violent actions in patients with no history of violent behavior, are being prescribed for patients with bipolar disorder. That is a prescription for disaster.

The other class of drugs that are demonstrably linked to violence are 3 drugs prescribed for ADHD–amphetamines, atomoxetine and methylphenidate–and 5 hypnotic /sedatives.

Only 0.25% of all serious adverse drug events met the PLoS study’s restrictive criteria of violence. Thus, it is likely that the number of cases included in the analysis is understated.

Not only does the FDA disregard the precautionary principle of medicine–“First, do no harm”– the agency is unleashing drugs whose mode of action–accelerating dopamine and or serotonin in the brain–poses serious threats of violence to bystanders in the community!  Think of the school shootings….the postal shootings…the troop “friendly fire” deaths…

Read the complete article at PLoS One, “an interactive, open-access journal for the communication of all peer-reviewed scientific and medical research,”

Vera Hassner Sharav


These are links to a few articles on gun violence and psychiatry from this site. Yes, they’re pretty clearly connected but we live in a world in which it’s members are encouraged to keep their heads up a small, dark, tight canal in the bottom half of the body.

⬤  The pharmaceutical industry and the fight against gun control

⬤  Medicated America

⬤  Blaming the mentally ill for violence is bad public policy as well as just plain misguided


*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications.  See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up


For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

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