This past weekend there was a mass shooting in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.  Six people plus the shooter were killed.  A few weeks earlier, James Holmes shot and killed twelve people and wounded fifty-eight others in a movie theater in Colorado.  Five years ago the deadliest mass shooting of all occurred at Virginia Tech, where thirty-two people were killed and many others were injured.  And finally, no one has forgotten the shooting that occurred at Columbine over ten years ago. 

The mass shooting in the Sikh temple has yet to yield any information as to whether the shooter was on any psychiatric medication.  One of the Columbine shooters was on Luvox, an antidepressant.  James Holmes was under the care of a psychiatrist, which most likely means he was on a psychotropic drug.   In other incidents, no clear and conclusive data has been released.  

Until there are enough studies along the same vein that brought the tobacco industry to its knees, we can only continue to promote the facts regarding psychiatric drugs.  The media will tell you it’s all just senseless violence and will divert your attention to the right to bear arms issue.  Pharmaceutical companies are going to do everything in their power to protect their drugs and their multi-billions in profits.  That leaves us with pushing forward the facts so that you can make your own conclusions regarding mass shootings.

The first fact that you need to know is that the FDA issues a Black Box Warning on certain prescription drugs.  It is an alert that can be found on the package insert for the drug.  It is the strongest warning issued and means the drug carries a significant risk of serious or life-threatening adverse effects.  This in itself should be a red flag when considering a drug that has this alert.  It is not unusual that patients are not told of this important warning.

As an example, all antidepressants have this Black Box Warning and it states that use of the drug may result in increased risk of suicidal tendencies in children and adolescents.  Psychiatric drugs have the potential to make a child contemplate suicide.

For psychiatric drugs in general, the FDA warns of psychosis, mania, hallucinations, delusions, suicidal and homicidal ideation.  In plain language, this means these drugs could possibly make you crazy and give you ideas to kill yourself and others.  This doesn’t need any further explanation.  You can connect the dots.  It is that simple.

In a drug study released at the end of 2010, the kinds of drugs that warn of those ideas of homicide are antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants, mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety drugs.  The brand names that are commonly known or advertised that fit into this category are:  Prozac, Paxil, Pristiq, Cymbalta, Ritalin, Abilify, Xanax and Seroquel, just to name a few.  Some of these are heavily advertised on television as if life is a beautiful thing after taking the drug, yet there is no effort to truly warn you of the dangerous side effects or the potential for violence.

In that same drug study, information was collected from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System over a five-year period.  Out of four hundred eighty-four drugs, thirty-one drugs had a disproportionate association with violence.  This accounted for seventy-nine percent of all violence reported.  Of these thirty-one drugs, eleven were antidepressants, six were sedatives or hypnotics and three were for treatment of ADHD. 

These statistics are only based on what was actually reported, so it is likely there are many more drug-associated violent acts that went unreported.  In any case, based on the earlier FDA warnings given regarding these drugs, it really is no surprise that the conclusion of this study was that violence towards others is an adverse event of this small group of drugs listed above.  Is anyone thinking about how mass shootings fit in yet?

Psychiatric drugs are supposed to treat the symptoms of various so-called mental illnesses.  There are no medical tests to prove a “mental disorder” exists.  There are only opinions, not science.  It begs the question why are people given such drugs that have such serious warnings and potentially lethal side effects?  It is obvious that the risks are high and the benefits are none.   

It would be smart to get yourself educated about any psychiatric drug before taking it or giving it to your child.  It would be wise to educate your friends and family as well.  No one wants to see another mass shooting occur, so the more people that are educated regarding the FDA warnings and potentially homicidal side effects the better off we all will be.  This is something to seriously consider as your life depends upon it.