SSRI Use Modestly Associated with Violent Crime

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the Psychiatry Advisor take:

A class of antidepressant medication is associated, to a modest degree, with violent crime, based on a cohort study.

Seena Fazel, MD, FRCPsych, and colleagues compared the rate of violent crime between 850,000 people who received selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and those who were not given medication. Data was taken from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register and the Swedish national crime register during the four-year study period.

Of the 850,000 who received SSRIS, 1% were convicted of a violent crime. The association between SSRI use and violent crime was most significant for people aged 15 to 24 years old and lowest for older individuals, the researchers reported in the journal PLOS Medicine. Younger individuals were also more likely to have arrests, non-violent convictions and arrests, non-fatal accidental injuries and alcohol problems.

The researchers caution that the results do not prove causation, as other fators may explain the link between SSRI use and violent crime. However, if the results are replicated, they add warnings about increased risk of violent behavior with SSRIs might be necessary.

“From a public health perspective, this worsening of overall morbidity and mortality might argue against restrictions on the primary care prescribing of SSRIs as long as potential risks are disclosed,” the researchers wrote.

Youth With Psychiatric Disorders More Likely to Commit Crimes
Link only seen in study participants aged 24 and younger.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) use is modestly associated with violent crime, according to a study published this week in PLOS Medicine. The cohort study, by Seena Fazel from the University of Oxford, and colleagues, showed in subgroup analysis that this association was evident in participants aged 15-24, but not significant for individuals aged 25 and older.

In this study, Fazel and colleagues compared the rate of violent crime while individuals were prescribed SSRIs with the rate of violent crime in the same individuals while not receiving medication, using matched data from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register and the Swedish national crime register.

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