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Antipsychotics Cut Violent Crime in Psychiatric Disorders

MONDAY, May 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with psychiatric disorders, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers correlate with reductions in the rate of violent crime, according to a study published online May 8 in The Lancet.

Seena Fazel, M.D., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used linked Swedish national registers to examine the effect of antipsychotics and mood stabilizers on the rate of violent crime in a cohort of 82,647 patients with psychiatric disorders. Within-individual analyses were used to compare the rate of violent criminality during the time that patients were prescribed medications with the rate for the same patients while they were not receiving these medications.

The researchers found that in 2006 to 2009, 40,937 men and 41,710 women in Sweden were prescribed antipsychotics or mood stabilizers, of whom 6.5 and 1.4 percent, respectively, had convictions for a violent crime. Violent crimes decreased in patients receiving antipsychotics (hazard ratio, 0.55) and mood stabilizers (hazard ratio, 0.76), compared with periods when the participants were not on medication. The reduction in the rate of violent crime associated with mood stabilizers was seen only for patients with bipolar disorder. In sensitivity analyses using different outcomes (any crime, drug-related crime, less severe crime, and violent arrest), the rate of violence reduction for antipsychotics varied between 22 and 29 percent.

"The potential effects of these drugs on violence and crime should be taken into account when treatment options for patients with psychiatric disorders are being considered," the authors write.

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