Tag Archives: painkillers

Painkillers are behind most murders and mass killings, say researchers

Painkillers are behind most murders and mass killings, say researchers

Researchers, eh. What are they like?

Pharmaceuticals are often behind the mass horror killings in schools and public places, a new study has confirmed. But it’s not the antidepressants that are likely to make you a killer, as everyone suspected: the real culprits are painkillers and the benzodiazepines for anxiety and insomnia.

TL;DR version: At no point do the researchers claim, still less “confirm”, that drugs, of any kind, are “behind” any violent crimes at all.

What they actually say is that people with a history of violent crime should be carefully assessed when prescribing painkillers, because there is an increase (of between zero and two-thirds) in their chances of committing a subsequent violent crime while taking painkillers.

Not dramatic enough, so WDDTY decided to make some shit up. As ever.

First, some perspective. In the UK in 2013 (the last year for which figures are available) there were 8,416 deaths due to a single drug, 2,955 deaths due to all other drugs combined. The larger figure is, of course, for alcohol. The drug that killed Charles Kennedy is still legally on sale in every high street.

But this is not about deaths due to drugs directly, it’s about homicides and spree killings – A tiny number in comparison, at least in civilised countries. Mind, Lynne McTaggart (aka Chief Shitting Bull) is American by birth and has never really seemed to understand the differences between the US and the UK.

This study covers the period 2003-2011 in Finland, during which time there were 1,091 homicides (and 3,549 road traffic fatalities, an undocumented proportion of which involved drug use of some kind).

So what did the new study “confirm”?

Most of the available studies are case reports that only suggest a coincidental link between violence or homicide and antidepressants  or benzodiazepines, while very little is known about the association between antipsychotics and homicide. Two recent ecological studies found no support for a significant role of antidepressant use in lethal violence in the Netherlands or the U.S., although data on individual offenders were not available.

In fact it was a specific and detailed investigation of psychotropic drugs, and the conclusion is:

These results – which may probably be generalized to other developed and stable societies that have a low to medium homicide rate, although not necessarily to countries with higher rates of organized and premeditated crime – imply that the use of antidepressants should not be denied to either adults or adolescents due to a presumed risk of homicidal behavior. The surprisingly high risk associated with opioid and non-opioid analgesics deserves further attention in the treatment of pain among individuals with criminal history.

This is science not pseudoscience, so the investigators published the finding despite it contradicting their original hypothesis. Yes, the researchers actually did not confirm anything, they disconfirmed their original hypothesis.

Did WDDTY lead with “antidepressants not linked to violent behaviour”? Don’t be silly.

The highest risk was among people who were aged 26 or younger and who were taking an opiate painkiller; they were four times more likely to become a killer, and the risk almost doubled if they were taking a benzodiazepine.

Up to a point, Lord Copper.

The median age of offenders and controls was 36.3 years (range 13.3-88.0 years). A total of 849 (88.5%) offenders were males, and 42 (4.4%) had more than one victim, 761 (79.4%) were intoxicated by alcohol and 51 (5.3%) by illicit drugs during the offence (as confirmed by the police).

So when we read that:

The results of this prospective study show that antidepressant use per se was associated with an only modestly increased risk of committing a homicide, with borderline statistical significance. Benzodiazepine and analgesic use was linked with a higher risk of homicidal offending, and the findings remained highly significant even after correction for multiple comparisons.

What we are actually seeing is a combination of these drugs with alcohol. And in some cases illicit drugs as well.

So does that mean there’s a causal link, as WDDTY imply? No, it does not. But “Being off your tree on alcohol and drugs, plus painkillers, is behind most murders and mass killings, say researchers” is not quite so on-message. Get with the programme: it’s always the DRUGS.

Sorry that should be DRUGS!!!!!

But the risk was almost as great in any age group if they were taking an anti-inflammatory painkiller, some of which are available without a prescription; the drugs quadrupled the risk of someone becoming a killer.

That word risk. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Correlation does not imply causation.

 

Researchers from the University of East Finland made the connection between the drugs and homicidal activity after they analysed the drug-taking history of 959 people who had been convicted of murder. They looked at their drug-taking before they had committed a crime and again afterwards.

They did indeed, and they found that:

The results of this prospective study show that antidepressant use per se was associated with an only modestly increased risk of committing a homicide, with borderline statistical significance. Benzodiazepine and analgesic use was linked with a higher risk of homicidal offending, and the findings remained highly significant even after correction for multiple comparisons.

Which is interesting but doe not prove causation and absolutely cannot be extrapolated to the population of normal people, rather than those recently released from prison for violent offences.

Surprisingly, the expected suspects—the antipsychotics and antidepressants—seemed to have only a minimal effect. Of the real culprits, the benzodiazepines seemed to have been prescribed in high doses for long periods, and they can weaken our ability to control impulses. Painkillers affect emotional processing, say the researchers

Really?  Search the full text of the article, see if you can find the claim that painkillers affect emotional processing.

What it does say is this:

These results – which may probably be generalized to other developed and stable societies that have a low to medium homicide rate, although not necessarily to countries with higher rates of organized and premeditated crime – imply that the use of antidepressants should not be denied to either adults or adolescents due to a presumed risk of homicidal behavior. The surprisingly high risk associated with opioid and non-opioid analgesics deserves further attention in the treatment of pain among individuals with criminal history.

See the qualifications? ” deserves further attention in the treatment of pain among individuals with criminal history”

So: no need to stop taking the painkillers unless you have a history of violent crime. The headline should in fact read:

Most pissed-up violent offenders who commit subsequent violent crimes, are also on painkillers, say researchers.

WDDTY on glucosamine

GlucosamineW is a supplement typically targeted at people suffering from chronic joint pain. Early promising results and low toxicity led to large randomised controlled trials: these comprehensively failed to support any claim of efficacy. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugsW (NSAIDs) are the current best management of chronic joint pain. They are effective but have known side-effects (as virtually every effective treatment does).

This is a condition that is particularly ripe for exploitation by quacks as it is (by definition) largely incurable – other than the dramatic intervention of joint replacement surgery – and with an ageing population, thanks to medicine’s increasing ability to keep us alive well past the historical median life expectancy of under 40 years, more and more people will suffer from the inevitable degeneration of joints.

Glucosamine quackery is a fairly standard example of a trope that originated with early promising results, and persists because the world of supplements, complementary and alternative medicine (SCAM) is in denial about the well-documented fact that most published research results are wrong.

A perfect storm of a vulnerable population, early and misleadingly vivid research results, trumpeted as a miracle in the press, contradicted by later findings so not part of the standard of care, positioned against a standard of care that involves drugs with some side-effects, and the conscience-free industrial exploitation machine that is the supplement industry.

Instead of exposing the grotesque abuses of the supplement industry, which exceed the worst the pharmaceutical industry could dream of getting away with, WDDTY instead acts as a propaganda mouthpiece, promoting claims that the manufacturers cannot because they would be breaking the law.

The following list is taken from a search of WDDTY.com and has not yet been filtered or validated. Corrections gratefully received via our contact form.

  1. Glucosamine brings benefits for osteoarthritis The nutritional supplement glucosamine can ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis and may even modify the course of the dis… more » News
  2. Alternative to drugs: glucosamine for arthritis Some observers believe that arthritis may be the result of abnormal glucosamine metabolism. In the body, glucosamine wor… more » Cover Story
  3. Glucosamine and chondroitin work Glucosamine and chondroitin are popular remedies for osteoarthritis – but do they actually work? more » News
  4. Arthritis sufferers should keep taking glucosamine after ‘bad science’ report If you suffer from arthritic pain, keep taking the glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. Although a recent, well-pub… more » e-news
  5. The best glucosamine The last several years have seen a revolution in the treatment of arthritis with the discovery that cell communication t… more » PROOF
  6. Supplements ease pain of arthritis The supplements glucosamine and chondroitin can ease the symptoms of arthritis, says a recent report from Boston Univers… more » News
  7. Proven health claims to be outlawed throughout Europe We all know that prunes keep us ‘regular’, and it’s been scientifically established that glucosamine is good for joint p… more » e-news
  8. Cox-2 inhibitors – Nature’s painkillers * Glucosamine. This cartilage builder relieves pain better than NSAIDs like ibuprofen in the long-term (eight weeks) (Cu… more » Drugs and Side Effects
  9. But two of them do: good news, at least, for arthritis sufferers But there’s good news, too, for alternative remedies. Glucosamine and chondroitin have almost taken on the status of urb… more » e-news
  10. Osteoarthritis Is there an alternative way of dealing with osteoarthritis, specifically spondylitis? As you are no doubt aware, orthodo… more » Cover Story
  11. Special walking plan eases osteoarthritis pain A special style of walking can ease osteoarthritis pain, and improve physical mobility. The technique works even better… more » e-news
  12. Alternatives for exercise-related injury imply being aware of the possibility of injury may be the best way to avoid it. However, if you do sustain an injury dur… more » Cover Story
  13. The best supplements for healing You may be able to speed recovery from sports injuries with the help of nutritional supplements. more » Cover Story
  14. Gentle alternatives to help you stay supple Arthritis is, in fact, an umbrella term used to refer to several different disorders. Among these are osteoarthritis, wh… more » Prevention
  15. Arthritis: Rosehip is better than drugs for pain-relief Rosehip could be a more effective pain-reliever than standard drugs for people with arthritis, a new study suggests. more » e-news
  16. Drugs for arthritis and cancer Q I am crippled with arthritis. I have heard about a new drug called rituximab, but I am worried about the possible side… more » Q & A
  17. So you think you need . . . a total hip replacement – What to do instead *Make simple changes to your diet and supplement programme. Osteoarthritis (OA) and cartilage loss are not inevitable co… more » Surgery
  18. Otitis media – Try osteopathy before grommets OTITIS MEDIA Try osteopathy before grommets Osteopathy offers a long-term solution to acute otitis media (AOM), a chil… more » News
  19. Heel the pain Q My husband is suffering from a ‘calcium claw’ on the heel of his foot. It’s painful and makes it difficult to walk. Bo… more » Q & A
  20. So you think you need . . . lumbar surgery – What to do instead Warm the affected area using a hot-water bottle or heat pad for instant temporary relief more » Surgery
  21. Arthritis: Nutritional supplements While alternative therapies offer much to a sufferer of arthritis in any of its forms, there is a great deal that you ca… more » Alternative Treatments
  22. Arthritis: Another big question last time from a reader who is looking for a reliable cure for arthritis. She’s tried MSM, glucosa… more » Family matters
  23. Strained tendons of the wrist Strained tendons of the wrist Q I strained the tendons in my left wrist a year ago and my doctor diagnosed de Quervain’… more » Q & A
  24. Hip replacement and arthritis: And we finally come to the reader who wanted to know how successful a hip replacement would be in relieving her chronic… more » Family matters
  25. Msm: There have been some amazing claims made for MSM (MethylSulphonylMethane), and especially as an anti-arthritic. But wha…more » Family matters
  26. Frozen shoulder: This common condition (known as adhesive capsulitis among the professionals) occurs when the ball and socket joint in th… more » Family matters
  27. Tendonitis One woman’s tendonitis is getting worse, and now she’s got a heavy baby to carry around too. One person who tried acupu… more » Family matters
  28. What causes arthritis? Understanding the cause, or causes, may give us the key to a cure—if it can be caught in its early stages—or at least to… more » Alternative Treatments
  29. Dietary lectins may be the cause of chronic diseases Lectins, the carbohydrate binding proteins present in most plants, could be the cause of many chronic diseases, accordin… more » News
  30. Trigger finger This happens when the tendon in the finger develops a nodule (knot) or swelling in its lining, causing pain, popping, or… more » Family matters
  31. Osgood-schlatters disease This is a condition where the bony protrusion below the knee becomes inflamed, causing swelling, pain and tenderness in… more » Family matters
  32. Plantar fascitis (policeman’s heel) This common condition causes pain under the heel of the foot. The painful area is usually located about 5 cm (2 inches)… more » Family matters
  33. Cetylated fatty acids Cetylated fatty acids (CFAs) are a group of naturally occurring fats that are widely marketed as a treat-ment for osteoa… more » Story
  34. Sciatica You certainly know a great deal about sciatica, however, judging by your many suggestions of help. This was in response… more » Family matters
  35. Bypass surgery linked to brain injury Bypass surgery may increase the risk of microscopic blood clots in the brain, and cause memory loss and other problems a… more » News
  36. Arthrodesis Q In 1977, my husband broke and dislocated his ankle. He was told he needed a plate and screws in the joint to prevent a… more » Q & A
  37. Age spots Q) I am 53 years old and have countless age spots covering my face, neck and hands. Are there any safe, effective ways t… more » Q & A
  38. The Best Natural Pain Relievers Most of us have had the experience of being in pain at some time or other in our lives. Often, it is connected with illn… more » PROOF
  39. Tacking painful joints Instead of using drugs, there is an effective natural regimen that can ease painful joints and muscles more » Case-Study
  40. Arthritis Ebook This manual will be something of a revelation if you are an arthritis sufferer who’s been told that nothing can be done… more » Products
  41. ARTHRITIS MANUAL The Arthritis Manual demonstrates that arthritis is not a disease that will inevitably progress, making your life more a… more » Products
  42. Alternatives for arthritis symptoms: nutritional help for arthritis sufferers Although many doctors still don’t believe it, studies show that changing your diet can help alleviate arthritic symptoms… more » Cover Story
  43. Infected glands Q For five years now I’ve had a skin condition called hidradenitis. I’ve been admitted to hospital 24 times to have absc… more » Q & A
  44. Glyconutrients The Internet is awash with claims that a new breed of supplements will cure everything from cancer to AIDS. The evidence… more » Story
  45. Ankle fusion Q) I have suffered from arthritis of the ankles for many years. I take meloxicam and have been provided with ankle splin… more » Q & A
  46. Spinal anaesthesia Q Just under two years ago, I underwent arthroscopy in one of my knees. As the pain and immobility was a great problem f… more » Q & A
  47. The vitamin laws – Help us to protect freedom of choice in healthcare A concerted worldwide effort by the European Union and a United Nations committee would severely impede your ability to… more » Cover Story
  48. The assault on natural medicine It’s two years into the future—August, 2012—and you’re in your favourite health shop somewhere in the UK. On the face of… more » Story
  49. Pain: killing it safely Statistics show that more people than ever are living with chronic, persistent pain, and the usual treatments just aren… more » Cover Story
  50. Natural Pet Foods From small beginnings 50 years ago, the manufactured pet food industry has burgeoned into a multibillion-pound-a-year ind… more » PROOF
  51. How i bet my hormone problem Doctors told Alisa Vitti that her ovarian cysts were incurable and she’d have to live on pills, but she found her own he… more » Condition
  52. Empty plates Despite ‘fortifying’ efforts, most processed pet food may leave your dog or cat deficient in many important nutrients Yo… more » Story

Why don’t doctors tell you that glucosamine is an effective remedy for joint pain?

Because the evidence says it isn’t true.

Enhanced by Zemanta