Antipsychotics, Mood Stabilizers Might Reduce Violent Crime — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 8, 2014

Antipsychotics, Mood Stabilizers Might Reduce Violent Crime

By Amy Orciari Herman

The benefits of antipsychotic agents and mood stabilizers might extend to reductions in violent crime, a Lancet study suggests.

Using Swedish registries, researchers identified roughly 80,000 adults who received at least one prescription for an antipsychotic drug or mood stabilizer from 2006 through 2009. During that time, roughly 6% of the men and 1% of the women were convicted of a violent crime. In within-individual analyses, rates of violent crime were 45% lower when patients were prescribed antipsychotics — and 24% lower when they were prescribed mood stabilizers — than when they were off treatment.

Peter Roy-Byrne, editor-in-chief of NEJM Journal Watch Psychiatry, noted: "This is a complex area where public health concerns (protecting the public from violence) may clash with patient refusal to take these medications or erratic adherence, especially since most psychotic patients are not violent and since civil liberties of such patients must also be respected."

Reader Comments (3)

Konstantinos Spigos, MD Physician, Neurology, Corfu

Unless they included a comparison with a matched sample of people having at least 1 conviction but did not ever received a prescription, those results are useless.

David Foster, MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Oregon

Having worked (years ago) in a state psychiatric hospital that served both inpatients and outpatients, it was almost an impossible task to keep patients on their medications. They didn't remember what it was like when they were impaired and they felt the medications interfered with their mental or physical abilities. The barrier to success is often compliance, and this group is not noted for this.

Carolyn S. Pingel Other Healthcare Professional, Psychiatry, VAMC

This is getting old

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