Researchers who study the effects of medication and painkillers warn that these drugs may be negatively affecting users’ brains.
University of California at San Diego researcher Beatrice Golomb explained to the BBC that reports from patients across the U.S. show alarming reactions to “statin” drugs: drugs intended to lower cholesterol. The researcher found that use of statin treatments is tied to broken marriages, destroyed careers, suicide and men threatening to murder their wives.
One patient in his late 50s with diabetes began to be explosively angry after signing up for a study that used statin treatment. The wife became worried about her own safety as her husband developed severe road rage and occasionally warned his family to stay away from him. Then the patient realized his problems might be stemming from the study.
But when the couple went back to the study, Golomb said, they were met with hostility.
It’s not just psychedelic drugs that can affect our brains, but normal medication too. https://t.co/9PNg3aOhk7
— BBC Future (@BBC_Future) January 8, 2020
“They were very hostile. They said that the two couldn’t possibly be related, that he needed to keep taking the medication, and that he should stay in the study,” Golomb told the BBC. But the patient ignored the doctors’ advice and abandoned the treatment, and within two weeks was back to his old personality.
Golomb explained that not recognizing symptoms and behavior associated with medications is typical.
Emerging evidence shows that medications such as antihistamines, asthma medication, antidepressants and statins can make patients impulsive, restless and angry, the BBC reported Wednesday. These medications also may diminish a patient’s empathy and impact how neurotic a patient is.
A French father sued a pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in 2011 over a drug he was taking a drug for Parkinson’s disease. The father of two said the drug made him become both a gambler and a gay sex addict and eventually led to him being raped.
In another incident, a man blamed the anti-obesity drug Duromine for reducing his impulse control abilities. This man reportedly targeted girls over the internet.
“There is a remarkable gap in the research actually, when it comes to the effects of medication on personality and behaviour,” Ohio University pain researcher Dominik Mischkowski told the BBC. Mischkowski has done research into the negative effects of medication upon a patient’s empathy.
“We know a lot about the physiological effects of these drugs – whether they have physical side effects or not, you know,” he added. “But we don’t understand how they influence human behaviour.”
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