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Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law

  • Published: September 12, 2006
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030372

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Response to Dr Pankratz ("Confusion" With GABAergic Hypnotics and Violence)

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:25 GMT

Author: David Healy
Position: Professor
Institution: North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, Cardiff University
E-mail: David.Healy@nww-tr.wales.nhs.uk
Submitted Date: April 22, 2008
Published Date: April 24, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Dr Pankratz appears to have misread our original article, which does not call for excusing individuals who engage in violence while on psychotropic drugs. It aimed at outlining some of the clinical and legal complexities involved in such cases. While individuals who are intoxicated with alcohol are not ordinarily excused for their behaviour, even on alcohol there are recognised states that provide a legal defense. We had hoped that the data we provided would indicate that psychotropic drugs can be linked to violence and that the examples we provided might stimulate debate as to when some consideration might be given to the role an antidepressant may have played in contributing to violent behaviour.

Competing interests declared: I am the Corresponding Author for this paper.