Today's hearing did not discuss psychotropic medication


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Pocket Rocket
January 30, 2013, 10:29 PM
After watching/listening to today's Senate hearing I am amazed that psychotropic medications were barely discussed and that there was no panelist representing that segment of the debate on gun violence. This omission prompted me to start another round of letters to my representatives. An excerpt of my letter is available below and I urge you to write something similar to your Senators:

Dear Senator XXXXX,

I am writing in regards to the recent to the recent Judiciary Committee hearing about gun violence. I was able to watch the hearing and appreciate that some of the Senators and panelists made valid points about gun violence but failed to adequately address one of the root causes.

One point which was lost during the hearing was the proliferation of psychotropic medication. This is the common denominator in all of the recent mass shootings and should be the focal point of any discussions on gun violence instead of legislation to restrict the rights of law abiding citizens. I am dismayed that the committee did not hear from any experts in psychiatry and mood altering drugs even though mental health was brought up numerous times by the panelists and your fellow colleagues.

Any bill seeking to restrict the right to keep and bear arms will not curb gun violence. It will only punish those who follow the law while allowing occurrences of violent crime by the mentally ill to escalate.

Senator XXXXX, I expect you to vote no on any bill that seeks to disarm or to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens of the United States.

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Ryanxia
January 31, 2013, 12:20 PM
Good letter (aside from the extra "to the recent" in the first sentence). I'm not familiar with the pyschotropic medication, was that actually a common denominator in these recent mass shootings?

Pocket Rocket
January 31, 2013, 05:35 PM
I guess common denominator depends on having all the information. The VA Tech shooting involved a perpetrator who had an Rx for meds but none was found in the system. However, it has also been debated that people coming off these medications can have more severe side effects such as suicidal/homicidal thoughts than while taking them.

I believe presrciption drugs are a big part of the problem and they were a part of the shootings at Aurora, Columbine and VA Tech as well as quite a few other events that received less press coverage. I think it would be foolish to exclude psychotropics from the debate and that is what I intended to get across in the letter.

Solo
January 31, 2013, 06:38 PM
Many shooters were on drugs. Many shooters also drank water.

Here's the question: did they become crazy after taking drugs, or were they taking drugs because they were crazy?

NOLAEMT
January 31, 2013, 08:45 PM
It means that there is no evidence that these meds (which are taken by millions of Americans) played any part in these tragedies.

jrdolall
January 31, 2013, 09:06 PM
Many of the ads for these types of drugs have a disclaimer regarding suicide and thoughts of violent behavior. They also mention about a bajillion other potential side effects.

I agree that mentally unstable people are normally the perpetrators in these mass murders as it takes a mentally unstable person to do something like this.

mokin
February 1, 2013, 07:11 PM
Hmmmm...

Maybe it's the big pharmacuital lobby against the gun lobby.

Just sayin'....

bikerdoc
February 1, 2013, 07:16 PM
If they had meds they had a diagnosis

TNBilly
February 2, 2013, 12:39 AM
After watching/listening to today's Senate hearing I am amazed that psychotropic medications were barely discussed and that there was no panelist representing that segment of the debate on gun violence. This omission prompted me to start another round of letters to my representatives. An excerpt of my letter is available below and I urge you to write something similar to your Senators:
so do you believe its a search for the truth or another song and dance show?

Dirtpile
February 2, 2013, 01:26 AM
Actually the links between SSRI drugs and aggressive or violent behavior have been documented. Most cases were otherwise harmless people having sudden psychotic breaks after starting or just after stopping these meds.

Even in the case of Virginia Tech. Have any of you seen the pictures of Cho from a couple months vs. a couple weeks before the shooting? The difference in demeanor is unmistakable.

See http://www.ssristories.com/index.php for a rather long list of cases.
You can also find some stats on and info regarding known negative effects of these drugs here: https://www.rxisk.org/Research/SpecialtyFilter.aspx?SpecialtyFilter=5

steelerdude99
February 2, 2013, 12:54 PM
...

See http://www.ssristories.com/index.php for a rather long list of cases.


Dirtpile, That's quite a list. As with anything that I see on the internet, I take the information with a "grain of salt" and try to find out who is funding the site and/or the site's mission. I am pretty sure the pharmaceutical industry would not like the contents.

The home page is http://www.ssristories.com/index.html The contact us link "says the lady who maintains the site has passed away". Via whois.com the site domain name renews annually and expires April 20 of this year. Coincidentally April 20 is the date of Columbine as well as Hitler's birthday. Anyone can get a domain, but they don't have an https cert which is somewhat more difficult to get.

I did not find anything too big outside the bogus contact us link at the bottom of the home page.

chuck

Pocket Rocket
February 3, 2013, 02:18 AM
TNBilly,

It felt a lot more like a song and dance than a reasonable discussion to actually do something about gun violence. We heard a lot from the reps about exploring all avenues to find solutions and at the end of the day it was mag limits, universal background checks and a possible AWB. There has been plenty of evidence that shows these aren't effective measures and the absence of any discussion of Rx meds was enough to cause me to say something about it.

Solo
February 3, 2013, 05:28 AM
SSRIs do not increase aggression. (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cap.2006.0138)

Muskyman
February 3, 2013, 05:53 AM
I think presciption drugs are definitely associated with recent mass shootings.

This video has been posted here before, but it's very good (especially for something Michael Moore is involved with)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZpihECO6xs&feature=player_detailpage

A huge percentage of Americans are taking these types of drugs. Why didn't we need all these drugs 50, or 200 years ago? If it can be proven that something has CHEMICALLY changed in human beings in recent years to warrant such a high percentage of Americans taking these drugs, then I will listen. Until that happens (which it won't), I think they are just a way for a select few to get very very wealthy. It's all about money, and the big pharma companies have a lot of it.

AirForceShooter
February 3, 2013, 09:18 AM
I think the big point here is the topic of drugs wasn't discussed at all.

AFS

Manco
February 3, 2013, 10:13 AM
Well, something has changed in this country, and it's not the availability of firearms, so it must be something else. These drugs are the biggest change that I'm aware of, pertaining to the mentally ill people who perpetrated the string of shootings we've seen. Naturally, those who wish to disarm us (and have been trying for decades, not just now) won't willingly change the subject to psychotropic drugs because it clearly wouldn't support their agenda.

fallout mike
February 3, 2013, 10:20 AM
I believe every mass shooting going back to columbine involved the shooter being on psychotic drugs. Again, I said every one. Probably just a coincidence though. I bet they all drank water too.

Lucifer_Sam
February 3, 2013, 10:55 AM
SSRIs do not increase aggression. (http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cap.2006.0138)

Author information:

Sitra Tauscher-Wisniewski, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Department of Psychiatry for Children and Adolescents, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
Mary Nilsson, M.S.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Cathy Caldwell, M.S.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
John Plewes, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Albert J. Allen, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Eli Lilly settled out of court with the victims of a mass shooting in 1989 where the perpetrator was on Prozac. Maybe they just didn't want their name dragged through the mud, but I think its more likely they didnt want close scrutiny of their meds. In any event, I dont give much credence to a research paper by them that proves something that is good for their company. I dont credit big pharma with an overabundance of ethics.

But in any event, I agree with the OP. And if the had been any other connection as common as being on some type of mental medication it would have been looked at closely by the media. They also pop up in some high profile murders that arent mass shootings and are just bizarre, such as the like that mother drowning her kids case a while back.

steelerdude99
February 3, 2013, 11:17 AM
Author information:

Sitra Tauscher-Wisniewski, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Department of Psychiatry for Children and Adolescents, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
Mary Nilsson, M.S.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Cathy Caldwell, M.S.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
John Plewes, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Albert J. Allen, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.



Lucifer_Sam, You beat me to the obvious bias in the study. BIG money pays for studies that support what it is they want to say. When I say "BIG", I mean dollars amounts that are in the billions are at stake.

chuck

Gordon
February 3, 2013, 11:30 AM
Just add to the existing 4473 "have been prescribed SSRI drugs" in the "are you a user of " question. Done ! This is a pet peeve of mine and I know it is not a popular opinion that if you can't cope with the pain of life without a drug, you shouldn't use fire arms.

steelerdude99
February 3, 2013, 11:37 AM
Just add to the existing 4473 "have been prescribed SSRI drugs" in the "are you a user of " question. Done ! This is a pet peeve of mine and I know it is not a popular opinion that if you can't cope with the pain of life without a drug, you shouldn't use fire arms.

And another line has to be added. Is there anyone who uses SSRI drugs in the same household who might kill you to get control of your firearms?" Was that not the case in Newtown?

Gordon
February 3, 2013, 04:51 PM
I control access to my firearms as any responsible owner must do today, in California that is the law.

Kybill
February 3, 2013, 05:47 PM
There is nothing wrong with precribed use of psychotropic drugs. The restrictions pertain to the illegal use of drugs. Sorry, but its just plain ignorant to state that if someone can't cope with the pain of life without using psychotropic drugs they shouldn't have firearms. It is the people with problems who are NOT under a doctors care that should be of concern because they are more likely to self prescribe the wrong medications, incorrect combination of medications or inappropriate doses. And if they are getting the drugs from the street they probably take whatever is available at the moment so they're always in some state of withdrawal. Many of the drugs in this category have to be titrated up in the beginning and slowly reduced when discontinued. Problems result when doctors are not involved. I'd much rather see people get the treatment they need than discontinue treatment because they are worried about being disqualified to protect themselves.

Solo
February 4, 2013, 04:02 AM
Author information:

Sitra Tauscher-Wisniewski, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Department of Psychiatry for Children and Adolescents, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
Mary Nilsson, M.S.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Cathy Caldwell, M.S.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
John Plewes, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Albert J. Allen, M.D.
Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Eli Lilly settled out of court with the victims of a mass shooting in 1989 where the perpetrator was on Prozac. Maybe they just didn't want their name dragged through the mud, but I think its more likely they didnt want close scrutiny of their meds. In any event, I dont give much credence to a research paper by them that proves something that is good for their company. I dont credit big pharma with an overabundance of ethics.

But in any event, I agree with the OP. And if the had been any other connection as common as being on some type of mental medication it would have been looked at closely by the media. They also pop up in some high profile murders that arent mass shootings and are just bizarre, such as the like that mother drowning her kids case a while back.
That money may influence a study is a valid concern, although it is worthwhile to note that this does not mean the study is incorrect; companies that produce vaccines have studies showing that vaccines do not cause autism. Of course, there are also independent studies showing this too. So I guess the question is, are there independent studies on SSRIs and violent behavior?

This subject has been studied by academia, and you can find papers (like this one (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11473500), this one (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3026856/), and this one (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18668279)) asserting little or no causal effect with regard to increased aggression. Of course, as with any issue, you can find the opposite, but my impression is that the majority opinion is that SSRIs do not increase aggression and are safe in adults.

The use of antidepressant drugs in children is a little less clear. It is theoretically possible that children are more vulnerable to adverse side effects as a result of their brains not being fully formed or in a sensitive developmental period, but I believe there is a lack of research in that area right now. The current majority opinion seems to be that the benefits of antidepressants outweighs the cost of their potential side effects (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/child-and-adolescent-mental-health/antidepressant-medications-for-children-and-adolescents-information-for-parents-and-caregivers.shtml) and that while antidepressants should not be a first response for children with depression, they should also not be a last resort (http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Should_children_take_antidepressants.htm).

Pocket Rocket
February 4, 2013, 07:46 PM
I think the big point here is the topic of drugs wasn't discussed at all.

AFS

This is exactly why I started the thread. If you feel the exclusion of prescription drugs should be part of the discussion of gun violence I'd encourage you to write your Senators and Reps stating this. Presently there are plenty of reasons to write and I feel this is just one more.

steelerdude99
February 4, 2013, 07:51 PM
Solo,
I have to disagree with you that the source of funding does not affect the results of studies. Any study that does not support the intended result, it is squashed. Here is just one of the many articles that I found. [ Many of the articles seem to be UK based; not sure if that is significant. ]

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/06/opinion/when-drug-companies-hide-data.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/14/drug-companies-bury-negative-research

In a similar way the media is influencing the public’s perception of firearms owners. A favorable news story only gets local coverage. Perhaps the local news teams in any given area wants to get the story on the air first. As far as making national news, not likely. But just last week, an argument in a Texas college where one the parties shot the other was on the air nationwide. Crimes involving guns anywhere near a school are now national news…. unless the story is about a gun owner saving the day.

So, if negative information is unavailable, all you have is positive information.

chuck

Solo
February 4, 2013, 10:45 PM
I have to disagree with you that the source of funding does not affect the results of studies.
I never said that: I said that it does not necessarily mean the result of the study is incorrect. If the result of the study in accord with other independent, peer reviewed studies, for instance. It also helps when they are peer reviewed, as the process is designed to weed out suspicious articles. Remember the vaccine controversy, where people started accusing vaccines of causing autism? It first gained traction when an article on the subject was published in Medical Hypotheses, a non-peer-reviewed journal, which did not have a scientific peer review process in place so that it could foster diversity of ideas and that controversial hypothesis could be aired. In practice, this means that they had grammar checking, but no fact checking. (They also had a lot of AIDS denial papers along with anti-vaccine ones.)

I am aware that money has an unhealthy relationship with medicine and science. And there are many examples of when conflicts of interest have taken place: Andrew Wakefield, who published an article linking autism and vaccines, is an immediate example. Another good example would be the energy companies funding studies that say global warming is a hoax.

However, in this case, it seems that the panic over SSRIs is overblown as there are multiple reputable sources in government and academia saying that SSRIs do not make people violent psychopaths. Much like the reaction towards violent videogames, guns, and etc - as if people in their desire to blame tragedies on some tangible bogymen latch on to any and everything that they can find.

It is possible that there are serious side effects to SSRIs, particularly in children, but it'd be best to go off of actual studies and not anectodal evidence, or infer cause and effect from news stories about mass killings.

Summary: Yes, money is bad in science. No one is going to dispute that. With regard to the issue at hand, psychotropic medication and mass killings, the majority opinion is that medication does not cause people to become psychopaths.

jl1288
February 4, 2013, 11:26 PM
I don't think of the issues with psychotropic drugs, as simply looking for something to blame for the murders and violence that we find ourselves in the midst of. Take a look at it from a more open mind. How many on this forum, watching this thread are 49, 50, 55 or more years old? I am 49 years old and can recall with crystal clarity what it was like growing up the decades of the 70's and 80's. One thing I definately don't recall are mass shootings being a high incidence occurance. In othe countries yea, it was aired on the nightly national news, fast forward to the introduction and proliferation in the use of modern psychiatric drugs and the rise in the incidence of mass shootings. Is it that hard to believe that someone is lying to the American people? Afterall we are talking about companies that have the resources to pump 10's of millions of dollars into the pockets of Dr's and politicians. There area number of Dr's starting to speak out and question the safety about the use of psychotropic drugs but many fear the repercussions of biting the hand that feeds them.

Solo
February 4, 2013, 11:27 PM
One thing I definately don't recall are mass shootings being a high incidence occurance. In othe countries yea, it was aired on the nightly national news, fast forward to the introduction and proliferation in the use of modern psychiatric drugs and the rise in the incidence of mass shootings. Is it that hard to believe that someone is lying to the American people?
I don't believe they're on the rise. (http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/mass-shootings-rise-us/story?id=17978004) In fact, this sort of thing does have a long history in the US. (http://news.discovery.com/history/mass-shootings-history-121220.htm) And that's leaving out things such as serial killers, mass murder via bombs, arson, and etc.
Afterall we are talking about companies that have the resources to pump 10's of millions of dollars into the pockets of Dr's and politicians. There area number of Dr's starting to speak out and question the safety about the use of psychotropic drugs but many fear the repercussions of biting the hand that feeds them.
How do you feel about the powerful firearms industry and gun lobby?

jl1288
February 4, 2013, 11:39 PM
Hell the US govt is the biggest arms dealer in the world. Warnings were put out at the end of WWII about the rise of the military-industrial complex. I just considered myself blessed to born in this country. The firearms industry is out to make a buck, they don't come banging down my door trying to sell me latest and greatest flux capacitor. Nor do I run out and buy the latest and greatest kill em all new caliber cuz some gun rag hag writes up that it is the end all be all. I cannot honestly recall the first nor last time any of my guns compelled me to pick them up and go out and kill an innocent human being. It is an industry, gun manufacturers don't hide the fact that what they peddle is desighned and built to kill.

Solo
February 4, 2013, 11:44 PM
I cannot honestly recall the first nor last time any of my guns compelled me to pick them up and go out and kill an innocent human being.You are probably correct and have every right to believe that, but I know a lot of people who believe otherwise (http://men.webmd.com/news/20060728/guns-up-testosterone-male-aggression). The ancient superstition of totems, fetishes, idols, and talismans lives on.

Oh, and while I agree with the distrust of the military-industrial complex, the US gun and ammunition manufacturing industry makes less combined profit every year than Starbucks. Wouldn't worry about them doing anything nefarious to subvert our democratic system. Or perhaps we should be more worried about Starbucks.

jl1288
February 4, 2013, 11:50 PM
Solo that cracks me up, my wife is Lipan Apache and made me a medicine bag. I still don't believe an in-animate object can have any sort of power over anyone, although I don't bust her chops over her beliefs. I guess 25 years as a firefighter/medic have jaded me. My first lesson was all patients will lie, the 2nd was if said pt can't lie for him/herself friends and or family will lie for them.

Solo
February 4, 2013, 11:52 PM
Oh, I don't have anything against belief in the supernatural, but when supposedly well educated doctors start attributing violence in society to ownership of certain inanimate objects... well, that makes me laugh in a sad way.

steelerdude99
February 5, 2013, 12:05 AM
I never said that: I said that it does not necessarily mean the result of the study is incorrect. If the result of the study in accord with other independent, peer reviewed studies, for instance. It also helps when they are peer reviewed, as the process is designed to weed out suspicious articles.

But that's just it; the research is not in accord w/ independent, peer reviewed studies. The research is done by of the employees of the drug company OR a researcher funded by them. So, how can that be called peer review? On top of that, many of the employes of regulating agency in charge (i.e. FDA) may work for the same company next week. It's the fox watching the hen house with another fox playing "impartial referee".

search the term "fda government revolving door"

chuck

Solo
February 5, 2013, 12:14 AM
Let's say we can't trust the industry. Fair enough. Let's also say that we can't trust the government. Alright, I can see how you could come to that conclusion. But there's always academia, right (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11473500)? Of course, people can always distrust ivory tower intellectuals with liberal agenda, so... where does that leave us?

Or to put it another way, what sources can we trust so that we may begin to evaluate the data and determine if these drugs actually drive violent behavior? Because with over thirty million prescriptions for Zoloft alone (http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/top-25-psychiatric-medication-prescriptions-for-2011/) (and over twenty for Prozac) you'd think someone would have noticed if they drove people nuts. Assuming a 0.5% chance of someone going bonkers from these two antidepressants, that's 300,000 psychos running around every year. (The actual amount of SSRIs actually prescribed in the US each year is higher than used in this overly simplistic example, and the number of all anti-depressants is even larger.)

steelerdude99
February 5, 2013, 12:38 AM
Let's say we can't trust the industry. Fair enough. Let's also say that we can't trust the government. Alright, I can see how you could come to that conclusion. But there's always academia, right (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11473500)? Of course, people can always distrust ivory tower intellectuals with liberal agenda, so... where does that leave us?


But who's to say we don't have a problem? If the way to get the numbers is by clinical trials, BUT if those with the raw data have a non-disclosure (i.e. a gag order) we will never know. Lawyers work for drug companies too. Calculate profit vs. litigation before going to market. If someone has a real case, evaluate the case’s chance of loss and settle w/ a non-disclosure if needed.

I am just skeptical of the whole process.

Chuck

PS: I do think there are honest researches out there. But I think they are too intimidated to "break the non-disclosure". Out of a job, black listed and/or sued may be what's risked.

Solo
February 5, 2013, 12:43 AM
I understand your skepticism and it's good to be skeptical; science progresses from skepticism. However, you have to be careful with skepticism; it's a fine line between climate change skepticism and climate change denial.

I don't know a lot of how the legal process works; if you have knowledge in this field, then you have me at a disadvantage.

But the sheer number of prescriptions alone would lead one to think that if there was a strong correlation, it would have showed up by now, as Prozac has been marketed since 1987.

Lucifer_Sam
February 5, 2013, 03:48 AM
That money may influence a study is a valid concern, although it is worthwhile to note that this does not mean the study is incorrect; companies that produce vaccines have studies showing that vaccines do not cause autism. Of course, there are also independent studies showing this too. So I guess the question is, are there independent studies on SSRIs and violent behavior?

This subject has been studied by academia, and you can find papers (like this one (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11473500), this one (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3026856/), and this one (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18668279)) asserting little or no causal effect with regard to increased aggression. Of course, as with any issue, you can find the opposite, but my impression is that the majority opinion is that SSRIs do not increase aggression and are safe in adults.

The use of antidepressant drugs in children is a little less clear. It is theoretically possible that children are more vulnerable to adverse side effects as a result of their brains not being fully formed or in a sensitive developmental period, but I believe there is a lack of research in that area right now. The current majority opinion seems to be that the benefits of antidepressants outweighs the cost of their potential side effects (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/child-and-adolescent-mental-health/antidepressant-medications-for-children-and-adolescents-information-for-parents-and-caregivers.shtml) and that while antidepressants should not be a first response for children with depression, they should also not be a last resort (http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Should_children_take_antidepressants.htm).

Well, looking over the first 3 papers, the first is just a review of previous papers, the second is a specific study with a small sample size that seems to be looking for a general effect. The third is interesting- its a paper having to do with the WPA Section on Pharmacopsychiatry, which is a heavily corporate funded entity. And judging from my look over the other papers released in that database, there isn't a pharmaceutical drug that it, or the other authors of that study, don't like, or think will fix all your problems.

I agree that there is such a thing as being too skeptical in certain situations, and your example of global warming studies is a good one, but I think in this situation things are reversed, and the biased studies like those backed by the oil companies are closer to the mainstream here. Academia has a close relationship with pharmaceuticals, to the point where some schools such as Sanford have tried to curtail it.

Also, not all SSRI are the same. The one that Lanza was on had a questionable history, and problems with approval. Admittedly, this site is a little flaky looking, but as far as I can tell the information is valid:

http://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/antipsychoticsideeffects/fanaptsideeffects/

So those are confirmed incidents of the side effects. Heres WebMD

http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-153413-Fanapt+Oral.aspx?drugid=153413&drugname=Fanapt+Oral&pagenumber=6

If these effects aren't happening, why are they listed in the possible side effects?

I also agree that in the vast majority of cases these drugs are safe, but, by the same token, I don't think we really know how often there are dangerous episodes b/c I don't believe that it has been looked or recorded by police or the media, and usually, when these odd effects are reported when crimes are committed, people and police dismiss it as perpetrators trying to make an excuse for the crimes. I used to agree with that, actually, but after I started looking into the effects I've become more skeptical in the other direction--the perpetrators are reporting symptoms inline with the side effects of the drugs listed, and are often doing things that they usually don't seemed inclined to to in the first place.

If every mass shooter had been on something like bath salts, or had been say, vaping with one of those artificial cigarette things right before the shooting, that would be looked at. "Another bath salt killing" But for some reason these meds aren't, and they are meds that mess with brain chemistry, and have possible side effects similar to what the individuals display. I was shocked by the number of people on these meds--50 million--I'd be willing to bet that the number of people on these has been increasing along with number of spree type killings.

At the very least an awareness of this might allow someone who might have a violent reaction to these meds to take some safety measures, or those around them to. But I think that we aren't hearing about it b/c news channels like selling their ad space, and the pharma lobby is as, or even more, powerful than the NRA. It actually held congress in session to force through a bill in 2002--pharma reps were on the floor, yelling and congressmen. Ted Koppel reported on it. I've never had much luck finding a report of this online, though, otherwise I would link it. But it stuck with me, and the news channels fairly indifferent attitude towards it stuck with me too.

It is possible that there might be an over reaction, to where people would not want to be prescribed these meds, but frankly, that wouldn't bother me. They are handing these things out like candy, and a few less.. million.. people on meds might not be much of a problem at all. I actually think it might be a benefit. I cant really see 1 in 6 people in the US having problems to the point where they need to have their brain chemistry altered.

But to boil it all down, as someone who likes 30 round mags in my deadly assault rifle, I'm not interested in taking the heat for big pharma b/c they might lose a few million in sales. Its their mess, they can help clean it up.

Solo
February 5, 2013, 04:40 AM
Also, not all SSRI are the same. The one that Lanza was on had a questionable history, and problems with approval.
I have not heard any reliable evidence as to what drugs Lanza was taking. Considering the autopsy results have yet to come out, I would be very interested in knowing how someone would obtain such information.

If these effects aren't happening, why are they listed in the possible side effects?

The side effects do happen. There are some people who experience increased aggression, and some drugs do increase suicidal ideation. Among SSRIs, Prozac is considered to have the best risk/benefit ratio. It's just the idea of tons of children flipping out and murdering people after taking these drugs is not well supported. Children are a vulnerable group, though; since their brains aren't fully formed, the effects of SSRIs on them is less predictable. I do know that suicide among teenagers has actually increased since 2003 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/02/AR2008090201821.html) and seems to be continuing (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/06/08/cdc-teen-suicide-attempts-on-rise/), possibly because of fewer prescriptions for SSRIs due to the warning labels resulting in teenagers who actually need them not receiving treatment. Of course, that is only one potential explanation, and there are competing factors that need to be addressed. There have been several recent high profile cases of teenagers killing themselves after cyber bullying, which has also been on the rise as people learn to misuse the internet more and more.

I was shocked by the number of people on these meds--50 million--I'd be willing to bet that the number of people on these has been increasing along with number of spree type killings.
50 million was just from the two most popular SSRIs. Here's a fuller list from 2011.
Celexa (37,728,000), Zoloft (37,208,000), Prozac (24,507,000), Lexapro (23,707,000), Cymbalta (17,770,000), Paxil (13,990,000).
This still isn't a complete list, and it's already 31,760,000. Some people might be on a combination of drugs, but still that's a lot of people taking a lot of SSRIs.

If you want to argue that we're over-medicating people, I would agree. SSRIs show most efficacy in people with severe depression; prescribing them for milder cases is slightly more effective than using a placebo. The drive to make money leads to this ridiculous number of prescriptions for people who do not need them.

However, the amount of suicides, violent crimes, and mass killings you'd expect aren't there. It does not matter if the media is not reporting them; we know what the statistics for violent crime and mass murder are. We throw them at anti-gunners on a daily basis. Crime rates are down and have been declining since the early 1990s. Mass murders are not more common now than before. (http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/mass-shootings-rise-us/story?id=17978004) Suicide rates were decreasing until the recession, since economic troubles tend have that effect (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/health/us-suicide-rate-rose-during-recession-study-finds.html?_r=0). We saw it during the Great Depression almost a century ago.

JPG19
February 5, 2013, 10:41 AM
Troubled people would naturally be more likely to be on those medications, it makes sense. I am hard pressed to be believe that they contributed; millions of American's take them without waging war on a school.

JRH6856
February 5, 2013, 11:12 AM
Generally, the intended purpose of treatment with mood altering drugs is stabilization. This requires determining the correct dosage, often by trial and error, but once the correct dosage with the correct drug is determined and maintained, normal functionality is usually restored and maintained. (There are no absolutes and nothing is 100% effective in all cases)

Many of the side effects related to psychotropics are experienced at the beginning of use and during withdrawal. This is when the most changes to brain chemistry are occurring. Changes occurring at the onset of treatment are more likely to be monitored by the prescribing professional than those during withdrawal which often occurs as a result of a unilateral decision by the patient.

A lot of patients feel stigmatized by their condition and the need to treat it with medication. They hear too many comments about how they are just weak or lazy or cowardly to face life without a crutch and seek to toss the crutch away as soon as they feel normal enough to do so. But in many cases, the treatment is not a cure, it is correction of a chronic condition and stopping the treatment cold, without adequate supervision can result in changes that make the patient extremely dangerous to both him/herself and others.

There should be a study of how many mass murderers with Rxs for psychotropics have the prescribed level in their system at the time of the act. Does anybody know of one?

Pocket Rocket
February 5, 2013, 11:13 AM
I called Senators Hatch and Lee this morning to push that prescription meds be discussed in any future hearings regarding gun violence. I heard from both that it would definitely be a part of those discussions. When those hearings will take place they do not know yet.

JohnBT
February 5, 2013, 01:04 PM
"It is the people with problems who are NOT under a doctors care that should be of concern"

I agree.

Many tens of millions of Americans have taken prescription SSRIs without going off the deep end and killing people.

Lucifer_Sam
February 7, 2013, 09:54 AM
I'm just going to italicize Solo's quotes, its easier.

I have not heard any reliable evidence as to what drugs Lanza was taking. Considering the autopsy results have yet to come out, I would be very interested in knowing how someone would obtain such information.

It does seem known what he was on. I guess the father knew.

Prozac is considered to have the best risk/benefit ratio. It's just the idea of tons of children flipping out and murdering people after taking these drugs is not well supported

I agree. Never said tons were. Its pretty rare, I would say. Just how rare, though, I don't think has been looked into.

It does not matter if the media is not reporting them; we know what the statistics for violent crime and mass murder are. We throw them at anti-gunners on a daily basis

I disagree somewhat. What I was talking about earlier is that we don't know how many crimes there are related to meds b/c I dont think that this information has been documented. There are not enough to impact the crimes stas, so they are unusual. But how unusual really isn't known at this time, as far as I can tell.

50 million was just from the two most popular SSRIs. Here's a fuller list from 2011....

I looked into in a bit more thoroughly, it seems that the best estimates agree that there are about 43-50 million are on SSRIs now. Heres the most recent reputable source I found on it

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/astounding-increase-in-antidepressant-use-by-americans-201110203624

Mass murders are not more common now than before.

That's interesting, you're right, they haven't increased this decade, They peaked int he 80s and stayed there.

Here's what I think in a nutshell--

Something like 9 out of 10 of these recent spree killers have been on these drugs. They often report symptoms mentioned as side effects to the drugs they are on, and, as Microtech points out, the crimes are often committed when they are going through a transitional phase when the medications are more actively altering brain chemistry. Spree killers are a very rare group of people. That they have this in common is significant, in my opinion. It is possible that the meds are just a symptom, and not a cause, but I think its more likely that they bear some measure of responsibility in many cases because of the reasons listed above, and in other places in my posts.

Now, I don't really know if anything can actually be reasonably done to identify or stop those that are on the verge of crimes caused by SSRI, or stop those prone to them, the condition may indeed be too rare and non specific. But of all the avenues I've heard proposed (besides maybe the media voluntarily curtailing reports on spree killers) studying this issue really the only one that might be worth looking into. Who knows, maybe these guys were smoking alot of pot before hand and eating rhubarb pie, or something like that, and it reacted badly with the meds. They're planning to spend all kinds of money on something anyway, might as well be something with some potential to be beneficial. Perhaps it would just be a waste of money, but that really wouldn't make it any worse than any of the other plans or laws proposed, and, sadly, it would make such a study better than some. At the very least a greater awareness of this as a possible cause might help in and of itself.

theblakester
February 7, 2013, 10:01 AM
It means that there is no evidence that these meds (which are taken by millions of Americans) played any part in these tragedies.

That is false. There is a large amount of evidence that the major pharmaceutical companies don't give out, because it will hurt their profit and possible remove their drug from the market.

Pharmaceutical companies have to do experimental studies on people and get certain results from a certain number of experiments (I think it's only 2 experiments that have to support their hypothesize about the drug). They can run the experiment 1000 times and 900 of the results can suggest that the drug causes hallucinations and homicidal/suicidal thoughts, but as long as they get their two with good results they don't have to report the other stuff and they can start hiring doctors to prescribe their drug to people for life. That means residual income and mucho profit$$$ for them no matter how morally wrong.

Solo
February 7, 2013, 11:08 AM
And the academic and government studies on these drugs?


If I may make an analogy? A lot of people smoke cigarettes, moreso in the past than at present. Despite everything the tobacco companies used to say (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1338&dat=19610322&id=y1RYAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iPcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7051,5437592), we all know now that smoking causes lung, mouth, and throat cancer, n addition to other detrimental health effects, because there were simply too many people smoking and getting cancer.

JohnBT
February 7, 2013, 12:53 PM
"50 million was just from the two most popular SSRIs. Here's a fuller list from 2011...Celexa (37,728,000), Zoloft (37,208,000), Prozac (24,507,000)" etc.

Just to be clear, those are prescriptions written in one year, not a count of the people taking them. You don't get a single prescription for an entire year's worth of pills.

Solo
February 7, 2013, 06:38 PM
That is very true, I should have accounted for that.

theblakester
February 12, 2013, 04:24 AM
The part about pharmaceuticals starts at 40 minutes and 30 seconds, but the whole video is interesting. I didn't make it, but it entails almost everything that I've dug up lately.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XQhdXUuFbDE#!

mikechandler
February 26, 2013, 01:22 PM
Marijuana is psychotropic, has been shown to trigger severe psychosis in individuals who are suffering psychological issues, and was a common denominator in the Jared Loughner and Terry Holmes shootings.

I am amazed, as a person who was raised in a dysfunctional pot-smoking family (until I was made a ward of the state, thank God) seeing the effects of this drug on my parents and siblings, that even many 2nd Ammendment advocates staunchly deny the evidence on marijuana use.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. If you had to pick between legal marijuana and your 2nd ammendment rights, which would you pick?

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