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SSRI antidepressants and violent crime

Using data from Sweden researchers have been assessing the impact of antidepressants on violent behaviour by people with depression. Using data from over 800,000 people, the scientists compared rates of violent crime while individuals were prescribed with SSRIs versus when they were not. The findings are published in PLOS Medicine. Roundup comments accompanied this briefing.

Two of the authors came along to the Science Media Centre to discuss issues such as:

  • How big is the impact of SSRIs on crime and violent crime?
  • Is this all SSRIs or just certain types?
  • Can we untangle whether drugs cause people to be violent, or whether they allow violent people to be sufficiently well to act violently?
  • Does this research mean that people should not be given SSRIs? How good are the alternatives?
  • What are the harms of not giving people SSRIs?



Prof. Seena Fazel, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Science and Professor of Forensic Psychiatry, University of Oxford

Dr Yasmina Molero, Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and Researcher, Swedish Prison and Probation Service Research Unit

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