Psychotropic Drugs: Effects - 15 October 1996

House of Lords Written Answer (Hansard, vol. 574, WA 179)

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have studied the research by Workman and Cunningham, Shader, DiMascio and others, and Rosenbaum, Woods, Groves and Kierman which shows that prisoners and mental health patients are more likely to behave in a hostile or aggressive manner after being prescribed psychotropic drugs than before.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The Government are aware of much of this research. The fact that some anxiety-relieving drugs may cause a paradoxical increase in hostility and aggression is well known and is set out in the British National Formulary.

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will commission a study to determine whether psychiatric patients who commit violent acts while being treated under community care demonstrated any violent behaviour prior to taking prescribed psychotropic drugs and, if so, whether the level and nature of violent behaviour has increased since medication was started.
Baroness Cumberlege: The national Confidential inquiry into Suicides and Homicides committed by people with a mental illness, funded by the Department of Health, has been set up to examine in detail the circumstances leading up to and surrounding suicides and homicides committed by people under the care of, or recently discharged from, specialist mental health services. Its purpose is to identify factors in patients' management which may be related to the deaths and to recommend measures designed to reduce the number of such incidents.

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