RxISK.org, the first free independent website for researching and reporting prescription drug side effects, has added a Violence Zone to demonstrate and collect data on the links between prescription drugs and violent thoughts and behavior — from mild to suicidal or homicidal.
“Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best kept secret,” says Dr. David Healy, a world-renowned psychiatrist who has written extensively about the lack of data in evidence-based medicine, including in his latest book, Pharmageddon.
Healy says this is a global issue, with medical, legal, ethical, and profound public policy dimensions. “Never before in the fields of medicine and law have there been so many events with so much concealed data and so little focused expertise.”
Can prescription drugs cause you to kill someone? “Absolutely”, says Healy.
The Violence Zone allows users to enter the name of a prescription drug and see the side effects relating to violent acts and thoughts that have been reported to the FDA’s MedWatch System since 2004, as well as to RxISK, for more than 35,000 drug names from 103 countries. The data is presented in tables, tag clouds, heat maps, and interactive graphs, showing what’s happening with other people taking the same drug around the world and in a user’s community.
Users can then select the effect(s) they are experiencing and click on Report a Drug Side Effect to complete a report. This will add their anonymized experience to the RxISK database so that others can benefit from this information, as well as provide them with a personalized RxISK Report linking their symptoms and meds, which they can take to their doctor or pharmacist to facilitate a better treatment conversation.
We are collecting this critical information directly from patients one report at a time,” says Healy. “As more reports are filed, the RxISK database will become the most comprehensive source of independent information on what prescription drugs do and their capacities to relieve aggression or to trigger violence.”
Dr. Dee Mangin, Data Based Medicine’s Chief Medical Officer and a professor and Director of Research in the Department of Public Health and General Practice at the University of Otago in New Zealand, says, “Violence has not traditionally been seen as a medical problem, but the range of drugs now linked to violence has grown, including drugs used in smoking cessation, dermatology, asthma, weight loss, insomnia, and behavior.”
Mangin says some drugs can also cause vivid, frightening dreams. “It’s important to find out if there is a connection between violent dreams or thoughts and your prescriptions so that adjustments can be made before you act on them.”