Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Warnings that some prescription drugs cause violent thoughts | Irish Examiner

Warnings that some prescription drugs cause violent thoughts

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

When it comes to cocaine, crystal meth or LSD, there is no difficulty believing a drug could drive a person to commit a crime.

However, in the case of prescription drugs, the drug is always innocent and the person guilty, a psychiatrist has said.

David Healy, an Irish-born professor based in the UK, has been an expert witness in homicide and suicide trials involving psychotropic drugs. He believes selectove serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRIs) anti-depressants can cause a delirium that leads to violent behaviour.

"They can also cause entirely normal people to start thinking aggressively and have violent thoughts they had never had before, as they did to some drug trial volunteers in Leeds in the 1980s.

"And they can switch off anxiety so that someone coldly starts to plan something they would be too scared to do ordinarily — so there can be pre-meditation. The problems can happen within 48 hours, or build up over two to three weeks, as in Shane Clancy’s case."

Prof Healy gave expert evidence at the inquest of Mr Clancy, who killed a man before taking his own life.

This view is strongly disputed by the College of Psychiatry of Ireland, which maintains there is no evidence anti-depressants can cause harm.

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