According to a recent medical study, individuals who are taking certain prescribed medications have an increased risk of developing homicidal tendencies, compared to people who are not taking any kind of medications.
The study was conducted by a team of psychiatrists from Europe who examined more than 960 people who had been convicted for murder in Finland.
The researchers found that the convicts who had been on prescription drugs such as painkillers and antidepressants were more likely to exhibit violent and homicidal behaviors.
The psychiatrists matched each member of the examined group with ten individuals of the same age (13 to 88) and gender who lived in the same town but who were not convicted murderers.
The team of scientists then consulted a national drug registry to determine if any of the studied patients had ever taken any psychiatric drugs, as well as painkillers and other medications prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy or for controlling addictions.
The medical experts wanted to see if any of the participants in the study had ever taken any of these medications in the last seven years.
According to the researchers, they were surprised by the study’s findings.
The study suggests that those who took painkillers were more likely to have committed homicide, while those who were on antidepressant had a lower risk of having committed murder, although antidepressants had been linked in the past with schools shootings in the United States and Finland.
The researchers observed a 45% increased risk of among those who took tranquilizers, compared to 31% among the individuals who were on antidepressants.
The study also showed that those who used anti-inflammatory painkillers had an increased risk by 200%, while those who were on opioid painkillers exhibited an increase by 92%.
The researchers believe that those who used tranquilizers have a low impulse control. Also, previous studies have showed that some painkillers could affect negatively the way a person processes his or her emotions.
However, the researchers said the study did not show a cause-and-effect relationship between certain medications and the increased risk of homicidal tendencies. The study only suggests there is an association between the two.
Dr. Jari Tiihonen, expert in psychiatry at the at Karolinska Institutet in Stockhold, Sweden, explained that the study should offer an assurance that antidepressants do not necessarily enable violence in people, as some believe.
The findings of the new study were published in the journal World Psychology.
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