Hostility and Aggression

Antidepressants can cause some people to become hostile and aggressive. Both hostility and aggression are mentioned in some package inserts (information sheets) for antidepressants sold in the United States, but fall under the category of side effects that are qualified with the words “may have no association with the drug” or “It is important to emphasize that although the events reported occurred during treatment with [antidepressant], they were not necessarily caused by it.”

Other countries do not allow drug companies to get away with this convenient disclaimer. In the United Kingdom, for example, the information provided to patients comes right out and states that one of the “undesirable effects” of antidepressants is “aggressive reaction.”

Unfortunately, for some people, their lives have been destroyed and they are currently spending a great part, if not their entire life in prison.

Some drug companies work secretly with prosecutors to have people who commit crimes on antidepressants put in jail. This tactic, however, has not always been successful:

  • In April 2004, a Santa Cruz, California man was found innocent of attempted murder, due to diminished capacity caused by Zoloft.
    Man Found Innocent of Attempted Murder
  • Based on the testimony of the treating psychiatrist, as well as various psychiatric expert witnesses who testified that the crime of bank robbery committed by Christopher DeAngelo was committed as a result of diminished capacity caused by ingestion of Prozac and Xanax, the Court found him not guilty. State of Connecticut v. Christopher DeAngelo, Superior Court Judicial District of Ansonia/Milford at Milford, February 24, 2000.
    Conn. judge: Man not guilty of robbing banks because Prozac made him do it 
  • In 2004, a court in Australia found that her antidepressant “substantially contributed” to a 32-year-old Australian woman’s attempted murder of her two children and suicide attempt. The Court ruled: “The drug … impaired her capacity for rational thought to such a degree that her responsibility for her actions was substantially diminished and her capacity for rational thought and action was gravely impaired.”
    Australian Judge blames Paxil & Effexor: mom free of murder attempt 
  • On May 24, 2001, the New South Wales Supreme Court rules that “but for the effects of the 250 milligrams of Zoloft he had taken, it is wholly unlikely that the prisoner would have committed the crime [murdered his wife by stabbing her to death] to which he has pleaded guilty.”
    Regina v. Hawkins
  • In June 2001, a Wyoming jury awarded 6 million dollars to the plaintiff in a case where a man killed his wife, daughter, baby granddaughter and then himself while under the influence of Paxil. The jury instructions and jury findings (in italics) were: 1) Can Paxil cause some individuals to commit suicide and/or homicide? (general causation): YES.
    2) Was Paxil a proximate cause of these deaths? (specific causation): YES.
    3) What amount of fault do you attribute to each of the following: SKB – 80%, Don Schell – 20%.
    4) Damages – $8,000,000 [$6,000,000 to plaintiff].
    Tobin v. SmithKline Beecham

Thousands of Americans are in prisons throughout the United States today because SSRI manufacturers have not only failed to tell the public that antidepressants can cause hostility and aggression, but have, behind their backs, participated in their prosecution.

If you, or someone you know, has become violent, aggressive or hostile while on an antidepressant, please report it immediately to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). This is very important because this is one way pressure can be put on drug companies to fully disclose the adverse side effects of their antidepressants. You can report your side effects at FDA MedWatch.