Cholesterol Frustration

Many drugs have side effects. But what about drugs that cause violent and murderous urges? Yes. Taking cholesterol lowering drugs can lead to an increased desire to kill because of the altering of the body’s chemicals.

In the article, “Lipitor Rage,” Christie Aschwanden mentions three cases of heightened violence in specific, and suggests there are thousands more. The drugs that most commonly induce violence also help reduce cholesterol. In the three cases, each patient started taking cholesterol lowing medications. Two males and one female patient, all over age 45, became increasingly violent and agitated with their spouses and even tried to harm them physically. A study of 80,000 people done in Sweden showed those with criminal records had lower cholesterol than those who refrained from criminal activity. Many people in the medical field deny the importance of these findings, explaining the benefits outweigh the potential dangers.

It is easy to believe that dousing the body with chemicals can have other effects, aside from the desired. This is not only a problem for cholesterol lowering drugs, however. According to Aschwanden, “Violent behavior has been linked to at least 31 other medications, such as tobacco cessation aids and antidepressants, and the notion that lowering cholesterol might make someone violent or aggressive has some scientific basis.” For example, a shot may produce adverse side effects: redness, itchiness, swelling, or pain at the injection site. Likewise, taking cholesterol lowering pills may increase violent chemicals in the brain. These facts are also supported by tests on gorillas; Gorillas put on cholesterol lowering diets became more aggressive. Although this study was done on animals and therefore may not have the same affect it has on humans, the evidence is hard to ignore. But is there too little evidence to support the hypothesis? The study done in Sweden involved 80,000 people, a large number for a study. Even though there were only a few thousand reported cases of violence in the United States, this could be due to people not reporting side effects of the drugs. This side effect also could have slipped by in FDA testing, because only a few thousand people were tested at random.

The chemical balance of the body and what is done to alter it comes into play. The increase of aggressive activity in statin (cholesterol lowering drugs) users is a problem. No matter how many tests are done or what type of person or animal is tested, the results can always be different. Not everyone has the same reaction to drugs. One person could turn into a vicious murderer; the other could have their cholesterol lowered.





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