Violent crimes are reduced when people use antipsychotic medication

Individuals who take antipsychotic medications to treat psychiatric illnesses are about half as likely to commit a violent crime than people who aren't using these types of medications, a new study reveals.

Published in The Lancet, the research suggests treatments such as clozapine or risperidone - as well as mood stabilizing drugs, like lithium or cabamazepine - can temper violent behavior. And while research has shown these types of drugs can reduce relapse and hospitalization rates, little evidence exists that points to their effect on minimizing violent crimes.

"Patients with psychiatric disorders are at risk of perpetrating violent acts, as well as being victims," Dr. Seena Fazel, of Oxford University, said in a press release. "Until now, we have not known whether antipsychotics and mood stabilizers reduce risks of violence."

The study

Over 80,000 patients were involved in the study, all of them who were prescribed antipsychotic or mood stabilizing medication from 2006 to 2009.

Over the three-year study period, 6.5 percent of the men and 1.4 percent of women were convicted of a violent crime. When the same participants were on medication, violent crime dropped by 45 percent in the participants who were taking antipsychotics, and 24 percent in patients who were using mood stabilizers.

Dr. Fazel elaborated:

"By comparing the same people when they are on medication compared to when they are not, our study provides evidence of potentially substantial reductions in risk of violence, and suggests that violence is to a large extent preventable in patients with psychiatric disorders."

Source: The Lancet

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