A European research team found a troublesome link between some types of pain killers and tranquillizers and an increased risk of committing a murder.
According to scientists, people taking benzodiazepines, a class of drugs designed to treat insomnia, anxiety, seizures, and panic disorders or used as tranquilizers in medical procedures, are more likely to commit a homicide than people that are not on those prescription drugs.
But the team also found a tendency toward violent crimes in patients taking opiods or anti-inflammatory medications. Dr. Jari Tiihonen, co-author of the study and a senior researcher from Finland, explained that those medications affect the patient’s impulse control. Researchers were surprised to learn that homicide risk was boosted by painkillers as well.
However, people taking antidepressants didn’t have a significant risk of committing a homicide, even though researchers have taken into account their mental illness history as well.
The study involved nearly 1,000 people from Finland aged 13 to 88, who had been convicted of homicide between 2003 and 2011. Researchers sifted through the national data bases containing their criminal activity and their medical history and prescription drug treatment.
About 88 percent of the study participants were men, while nearly four percent had multiple victims. About 80 percent were intoxicated by either alcohol or an illegal drug at the time they committed the crime.
“On the basis of our results, benzodiazepines and painkillers, but not antidepressants are linked to an significantly higher risk,”
Dr. Tiihonen said
Researchers compared the data on every offender to data on ten regular people who had no violent crime record and were of the same age and gender, while living in the same location.
Researchers were surprised by the findings which underlined a troublesome link between certain prescription drugs and risk of killing someone. According to data, that risk jumped 45 percent if the person had taken tranquilizers and by 31 percent if he/she was on antidepressants.
The findings showed that tranquilizers increased the risk of committing a homicide by 45 percent and antidepressant use increased the risk by 31 percent.
But what shocked researchers the most was that anti-inflammatory pain killers boosted the risk of committing homicide by nearly 200 percent. Opioids hiked the risk by only 92 percent.
Nevertheless, in most cases that were analyzed during the study benzodiazepines were prescribed in very high amounts for a prolonged time.
Image Source: Salon
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