Internet Armchair Diagnosis Has Anti-Psychotic Drug Setting Off Adam Lanza

Wednesday, 19 Dec 2012 01:44 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old gunman who fatally shot 20 school children and seven adults last week in Newtown, Conn., may have been on the prescription anti-psychotic drug Fanapt that had the opposite of its intended effect on him. At least that's an armchair diagnosis making Internet rounds.

It started with a New York Magazine blog post written by Adam Martin, and citing a New York Daily News article, that said, “Adam's uncle […] said he was taking an anti-psychotic drug called Fanapt.”

Though the Daily News article actually makes no mention of Lanza’s uncle or the drug, the New York Magazine report has spawned a flurry of skepticism as to what the side effects of the medicine could have had on Lanza.

Particularly, a Business Insider report pointed out that Fanapt is an anti-psychotic drug that was initially not approved for use. A report on the side effects of Fanapt are somewhat troubling:

“Aggression and delusion have been reported frequently. […] Hostility, paranoia, confusional state, mania, mood swings, panic attack, impulse-control disorder, and major depression have been reported infrequently.”

The first producer of Fanapt halted its manufacture, as Business Insider reports, because it caused an increased heart-rate in patients. Another pharmaceutical company picked up the drug, although it was initially rejected by the Food and Drug Administration.

The publication cites the case of Jeffrey R. MacDonald, a Green Beret convicted of killing his entire family who came up with a story about an invading gang of “hopped up hippies.” MacDonald was on Eskatrol, an amphetamine that has since been banned due to its side effects.

Whether Lanza was taking an anti-psychotic drug isn't known for sure.

A Fox News article cited an acquaintance of the Lanza family, who said: “From what I've been told, Adam was aware of her [his mother Nancy] petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” to a mental institution. The acquaintance, Joshua Flashman, went on: "Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry.”

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