TUESDAY, June 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A small percentage of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) users may have an increased risk for violent crime during the treatment period, according to a study published online May 29 in European Neuropsychopharmacology.

Tyra Lagerberg, from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues assessed the risks for violent crime during periods on versus off SSRI treatment within individuals ever dispensed an SSRI aged 15 to 60 years during 2006 to 2013.

The researchers found that violent crime convictions occurred in 2.7 percent of the cohort. Comparing periods on and off treatment, statistically significantly elevated hazard ratios were seen in between-individual analyses overall (hazard ratio, 1.10) and in 15- to 24-year-olds and 25- to 34-year-olds (hazard ratios, 1.19 and 1.16, respectively). In within-individual analyses, including 2.6 percent of the cohort, for periods on versus off medications, hazard ratios were elevated overall (hazard ratio, 1.26) and across most age groups (hazard ratios, 1.35 in 25- to 34-year-olds and 1.25 in 45- to 60-year-olds). The within-individual hazard ratios were significantly elevated throughout treatment in the overall cohort (hazard ratios, 1.24 to 1.35) and for up to 12 weeks after discontinuation (hazard ratios, 1.37 and 1.20 for the first 28 days and 29 to 84 days, respectively).

“While further research is called for to illuminate questions of causality and risk prediction, our results suggest the need for clinical awareness of the risk for severe violence during and possibly after SSRI treatment across age groups, and provision of information to high-risk individuals,” the authors write.

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