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Top 10 List: Dangerous Drugs

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Washington, DCMuch has been written about drug side effects, given the fact that ALL drugs have side effects. To that end, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) famously holds to its mantra that a drug is acceptable so long as benefits outweigh risk. Translation: all drugs carry risk, to some degree (the same holds true for medical device companies). However, certain drugs have been labeled dangerous drugs by way of a new study.

Topping the list is Chantix, which has been linked to suicide, suicide ideation and aggressive behaviors since it was released a few years ago. Targeting neuro receptors, responsible for the production and release of dopamine, varenicline was designed to harness and block the "pleasure" a smoker derives from nicotine. While the theory behind Chantix is remarkable, the loss of pleasure coupled with the overall challenge of kicking a years-long habit appears to bring out the worst in some people.

But Chantix is not alone. The study, undertaken by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and published in the journal PloS One, identified no fewer than 31 dangerous drugs that are disproportionately linked to violent behavior toward others: hence the straightforward title of the study, "Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others."

It doesn't get any clearer than that.

On Friday, Time magazine's "Healthland" published a Top Ten list of harmful drugs linked to violence and aggression against others. Among them, are drugs all too familiar to the readers of…

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is 7.9 times more likely to be linked with violence than any other drug. Effexor (venlafaxine) was shown to be 8.3 times more likely than other dugs to be associated with violent behavior. Paxil (paroxetine) hit the scale at 10.3 times. Researchers noted the severe withdrawal symptoms and greater risk of birth defects associated with Paxil. Prozac (fluoxetine) tipped the scale at 10.9 times…

But topping the list was Chantix, identified as being 18 times more likely to foster aggressive behavior toward others than other meds. In comparison, nicotine replacement carried a rating of 1.9 and Xyban, 3.9 times more likely to foster aggression.

Researchers conducted the study using data from the FDA's own Adverse Event Reporting System. With regard to Chantix, the researchers also noted that Chantix did demonstrate a slightly superior success rate when compared with other smoking cessation drugs and thus, should not be ruled out as an option for smokers looking to quit.

That said, assuming the emotional challenge with kicking the smoking habit as a given for all smoking cessation drugs, Chantix was 16.1 times more likely than basic nicotine replacement to foster aggression or violence.

The researchers stopped short of labeling any of the drugs studied as defective drugs.

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