Psych Meds Put 49 Million Americans at Risk for Cancer


With 1 in 5 Americans taking a psychiatric medication, most of whom, long term, we should probably start to learn a bit more about them. In fact, it would have been in the service of true informed consent to have investigated long-term risks before the deluge of these meds seized our population over the past thirty years.

You may be unaware of a literature that suggests long-term treatment with all psychiatric medications is more likely to leave you with a lesser quality of life. Here’s one more reason to reconsider life partnership with your psychiatric medication – it may contribute to your cancer risk.

What if I told you that this cancer data came from preclinical trials conducted for FDA licensure of these medications? That these trials are documented in the package inserts themselves.

Because of the inherent challenge of studying cancer at the population level, using these rodent studies was felt to be important by Amerio et al because they are not subject to publication bias – a major issue in psychiatry – and the methods are consistent across drug class.

Reasonably, even the IARC/WHO back this up, stating:

“Although this association cannot establish that all agents and mixtures that cause cancer in experimental animals also cause cancer in humans, nevertheless, in the absence of adequate data on humans, it is biologically plausible and prudent to regard agents and mixtures for which there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals as if they presented a carcinogenic risk to humans.”
(International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and World Health Organization, 2000).

What Do the Data Show?

A signal of harm. Plain and simple. In their paper, Carcinogenicity of psychotropic drugs, Amerio et al. found:

  • 63.6% of antidepressants were associated with carcinogenicity, specifically mirtazapine, sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram and escitalopram, duloxetine and bupropion.
  • 90% of antipsychotics agents were associated with carcinogenicity. All agents were associated with carcinogenicity except clozapine.
  • 70% of benzodiazepines/hypnotics were associated with carcinogenicity, specifically clonazepam, zolpidem, zaleplon, diazepam, eszopiclone, oxazepam and midazolam.
  • 25% amphetamines/stimulants were associated with carcinogenicity, with methylphenidate specifially associated.
  • 85.7% of anti-convulsants (“mood stabilizers”) were associated with carcinogenicity. The only agent not associated with carcinogenicity was lamotrigine. Specific agents associated with carcinogenicity were valproate, carbamazepine, gabapentin, pregabalin, oxcarbazepine and topiramate.

Cancer? How Could Psych Meds Cause Cancer?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and again. There’s no free lunch with pharmaceuticals. We must disabuse ourselves of the notion that we can yank only one thread out of the spider web. When you pull it, the whole thing moves.

When you expose your body to pharmaceutical grade chemical influence, it is forced to adjust.

We think of these medications as “fixing” brain problems, but we are just beginning to learn some of the many effects they have on the body as a whole, and the unmapped individual differences in metabolism and toxicant threshold effects, on the body’s mechanisms for survival in adversity – aka cancer.

Researchers today, including research in pregnant women, are asking the wrong safety questions. They are asking questions that made sense two decades ago, before we learned about the microbiome, epigenetics, and transgenerational effects of these individual variables. Particularly the differential effects on female vs male physiology.

Look what happened when they bothered to ask about the effects of Zyprexa on gut bacteria:

“This study furthers the theory that gender may impact on the nature of, and susceptibility to, certain side effects of antipsychotics. In addition, we demonstrate, what is to our knowledge the first time, an altered microbiota associated with chronic olanzapine treatment.”

The challenge is that the population-level effects can take decades to emerge, and the incentive to limit study of adverse effects is very high. In the meantime you may have been entered into an uncontrolled and unconsented experiment. Take this information for what it is; an invitation to take a different, safer path to healing.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


    • It is damn difficult to taper off two mgs. of Zypreza. I have also heard many horror stories about detoxing from klonopin. Even with insurance coverage, I have spent a small fortune on psych. drugs in the past 25 years.

      Report comment

      • The atypicals are the worst, aren’t they? Such is my information at any event. I’ve been off cigarettes for well over 25 years. I figure I saved a small fortune by quitting smoking when I did so many many years ago before cigarettes were taxed to the extent that they are at today. Also, in medical bills. I imagine detoxing off psych-drugs could provide a similar windfall for other people should they choose to go there. Something to think about anyway.

        Report comment

      • And when a psychiatrist puts a patient on Zyprexa and any other neuroleptic (or numerous other anticholinergic agents) they create the symptoms of schizophrenia via drug interactions:

        “neuroleptics … may result in … the anticholinergic intoxication syndrome … Central symptoms may include memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures.”

        And I know all my doctors thought psychosis caused by the central symptoms of neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication syndrome was bipolar or schizophrenia.

        Funny, though, the psychosis went away when I was weaned off the neuroleptics.

        Report comment

        • I got put on Zyprexa (off label of course), for tiredness, along with a valium type drug. I was absolutely nuts in three days, to the extent I took 9 temazepam pills during one night just to sleep (yeah how crazy is that)… instead of just taking away the damn drugs, I ended up seeing a psychiatrist… one I didnt need. 8 years later, after 8 years on effexor, I lost my self, my self esteem, my family, my marriage, my finances…. who is responsible……. Zyprexa is, as they were advertising the use of a damn antispychotic for tiredness? Take an antipsychotic when not psychotic, sends ya psychotic. Now I got lots n lots of labels, in reality, I got nothing wrong me with mentally, except brain dam;age from these horrific drugs, handed out like candy…

          Report comment

          • ” Take an antipsychotic when not psychotic, sends ya psychotic.”

            No doubt, either via the above mentioned syndrome or:

            “Neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome is principally characterized by the same symptoms that constitute the negative symptoms of schizophrenia—emotional blunting, apathy, hypobulia, difficulty in thinking, difficulty or total inability in concentrating, attention deficits, and desocialization. This can easily lead to misdiagnosis and mistreatment. Instead of decreasing the antipsychotic, the doctor may increase their dose to try to “improve” what he perceives to be negative symptoms of schizophrenia, rather than antipsychotic side effects.”

            Certainly seems obvious to me that the “gold standard” “wonder drugs for schizophrenia,” the neuroleptics, are likely the cause of all the schizophrenia.

            Although, no doubt, psychosis can be caused by other things.

            Maybe someone should mention this to the psychiatrists?

            Report comment

          • Handed out like weapons, I say.

            If you want a novel view of psych meds, go to and select a pharma drug from the pharma menu. Find the “experience vault” on that drug’s page.

            People who think they are experienced drug users with psychedelics and junk and meth under their belts tell of taking megadoses of Haldol for the heck of it, and get on rides rides they never want to take again. They cannot believe it is possible to feel that awful and live to tell about it. They megadose Effexor, too, and it sounds ungodly.

            Thing is, recreational drugs rise to prominence for one reason: people like them. They’re tried and true (but quality control is lacking). Antipsychotics drugs are designed to change behavior, with it feels secondary or not even considered. Plus you never know if one will knock you out or shoot you at the moon.

            Ang the more I read about APs, the sadder I get thinking about your ordeal (and others’ too). Glad you broke out!

            Report comment

          • Someone E.,

            I think shrinks are told this many times a week. By their training, they must believe that our testimony is perverse and therefore to be disregarded.

            They are taught that patients refuse meds because of an oppositional disorder, to anger the doctor, or because they’re manic or irrational, not because the effects are highly aversive.

            They are taught that people who exhibit psychosis on psych drugs are innately psychotic, and sadly the drugs didn’t work. The bad ones believe it. Add another, and up the dose!

            The bad shrinks have a schema in which we are marionettes in need of their masterful manipulations.

            It’s a lot like a nasty prison guard and an inmate. The guard holds all the cards and the inmate had better get in line. What the inmate wants doesn’t figure in the least.

            The difference is the nasty prison guard relishes the pleasure of dominating, intimidating, and injuring the inmate.

            A bad shrink thinks the suffering he inflicts on a patient is for the patient’s own good. But is it? Or is it just an enjoyable power struggle between dictator and subject?

            There are good psychiatrists. The good ones believe you and tell you what they believe. The bad ones don’t care what you say, and what they say is meant to influence you, not enlighten you.

            My 2 cents, anyway.

            Report comment

    • Probably won’t matter though, looks like they’re just going to be able to put whatever they want into vaccines and people will just be forced to take them.

      Pakistan seems like a great place to live, it has the added stress of worrying about whether a “vaccine vigilante” will be coming to inject your child.

      It just screams…. nice…. and caring.

      Report comment

      • And Bill Gates? How does he sleep at night? Forcing live polio vaccines on people in India? Now they have a vaccine induced polio epidemic. There is god, and then there is the wealthy in USA, who think they are God.

        Report comment

        • Look up the Bill Gates and his philanthropy? ie donating money for “his projects”, whatever they may be? A worry. Worries me so much, power, money, greed and a “god like”mentality that that brings. Why is wealth in USA associated with good? I associate it with evil.

          Report comment

  1. The study’s abstract listed the drug classes from most to least carcinogenic. Their wording for the last-ranked stimulants:

    “stimulants (with the exception of methylphenidate) were last (25%, 1/4 agents)”

    Dr. Brogan’s:

    “25% amphetamines/stimulants were associated with carcinogenicity, with methylphenidate specifically associated.”

    I guess those could be consistent, depending on what the authors meant…

    Report comment

  2. Turns out there’s a full-text pdf on Researchgate, and methylphenidate is just as Dr. Brogan described it.

    “Among amphetamines and stimulants (Table 4), 25% (1/4) of examined agents were associated with carcino- genicity, with 10% (1/10) of all studies being positive for carcinogenicity. Only methylphenidate was associated with carcinogenicity, in one-third [of the] studies of that agent. Amphetamine salts, modafinil and atomoxetine were unas- sociated with carcinogenicity.”

    Report comment

  3. Zyklon B was a known carcinogen prior to its widespread use and this fact alone failed to even make a dent in its sales. As long as it is profitable to sell these drugs they will be pushed on unsuspecting dupes.

    Report comment

  4. Having known mental patients who died of cancer, I’d always wondered about the carcinogenic properties of some psychiatric drugs. Apparently I had good cause to wonder. On top of heart disease and diabetes, now there is cancer to worry about. Thank you for this timely post. Perhaps it will alert someone out there to the potential dangers in blindly complying to single minded medical advice.

    Report comment

    • True, I had Stage 3a kidney disease, high blood pressure, stuffed liver, and high cholesterol. Off the drugs, all went back to normal. As for my brain? Stuffed, I have been walking through hell every day now for 5 months…….. I am like a frozen chronic fatigue anxiety ball, all day every day. Before antidepressants? I was well………. god help me now. I pray to die every day now, that is what these poisons have done to me.

      Report comment

  5. Sometimes when I am wearing my herbalist hat, I am blown away by how the FDA and the media tries to scare the jeewilikers out of anyone taking an herb but ignore information that shows obvious deleterious health effects.

    Kava- the Polynesian herb used for hundreds of years with rare damaging side effects- “Dangerous! Ban it! Herbs are scary. Who knows what could happen?”

    Recently invented pharmaceutical that ends up causing grave harm to many….”Well its for the greater good”, or “Oops sorry…but have you tried our new product?”

    Report comment

    • Well said………… St Johns Wort is helping, more than trying to reinstate any medications is…
      They should ban the artificial medications for interacting with St Johns Wort, not the other way around.

      Report comment

      • Yes, they actually banned St Johns Wort without a prescription in Ireland. Why? Because it can interfere with Antidepressants….. (of course a Pharmacy drug)… Now isnt that absurd? But even though it is absurd, it just goes to show the power of big corporations……just money and greed. They say no one can vouch for the purity of herbs? Well no one can be sure of the purity of medication drugs anymore, either………..Whereas with herbs you might be getting stems, and weeds, in medications you could be getting any side effect from bad drugs produced anywhere in the world, through your pharmacist. God I wish I had never ever trusted my sister and her psychiatrist……….. they are part of a cult, an abusive, superiority cult, that has now destroyed me. The psychiatrist is so much like the witch doctor, lots of drugs, no real credibility, but lots of power.

        Report comment

    • It also causes many, many more illnesses, the cancer scare is minor compared to the kidney failure, heart disease, liver failure. They dont tell us this when going on them, and dont admit that is the cause when we get ill……. the worst side effect of Antidepressants is the loss of “self”””…………………. loss of our minds, they cause suicide/homicide/ etc beside all the physical harm. However as it seems all the mental harm done is caused on the illness and not where it rightly belongs , a side effect of pills, perhaps pushing the physical side, the physical damage, I hope will save a few from the horrors I am going through, trying to regain my brain, off the poisons.

      Report comment

  6. I developed a flicker in my left eye about 3 years ago and my optician sent me to a specialist.
    The specialist sent me to an ocular onocologist.

    When I mentioned exposure to psychotropics in my early 20’s (I’m now 54) and the negative effect these drugs had on my eyesight; the eye doctors focused on my historical mental health diagnosis. The previous eye damage I reported, was ignored.

    After conducting tests, the onocologist diagnosed choroidal melanoma – and following a period of observation he recommended radiotherapy. I had the radiotherapy – and so far the result appears reasonable.

    Since my treatment was in a London Research Hospital I wonder if psychotropic eye damage is being edited out of Research.

    (I did eventually manage to have some of my view included on my records)

    Report comment

    • Well done, for getting the damage listed. I had a baby die due to half a heart Zoloft syndrome.
      Been 19 years, finally went to check if my reports had been registered, no nothing. So I did a full new report with TGA, they actually took notice now, probably because 500 plus people are suing in the USA. I can not sue, I live in Australia. So, basically, people harmed by this medical madness, can not get side effects listed correctly, can not sue, we are guinea pigs, but never told this.

      Report comment

    • Lately, I’ve been hearing from many people, myself included, who now have ocular problems after going off their psych meds. Another post withdrawal symptom that’s coming up more often, especially if you were prescribed a benzo, is abnormal EEG’s, again, myself included. Unless abnormal EEG’s are ‘normal’ from the Klonopin-induced withdrawal seizures, again, myself included. Boy, the hell we pay for being ‘compliant’ patients.

      Report comment

  7. One must remember that “Mental Patient” now refers to not only the 1 in 5 on these horrific medications, but also those previously on these medications, and all the kids on ADHD medications. So talking about “Mental Patients” is no longer talking about a fellow you used to know who was a neighbour like the 1 in 100 I was exposed to as a child, .. it now refers to probably every second person you meet. Probably you yourself, or your wife/husband/sister/brother…. on these pills “”oh only low dose, and only for””xx”””. Reality all are mind bending drugs. These people do not even realise they are now classed as “Mental Patients”.
    There is a sort of a invisible heirarchy, the ones who say “”oh I am only on drugs for anxiety”…. or the “”I suffered post natal depression”……………….. I was one of these, until the full realisation hits, once you taken these drugs YOU ARE A MENTAL PATIENT you have no rights, and eventually the penny drops….YOU BEEN CONNED TOO.

    Report comment

    • Then of course, all blood relatives, your kids, suddenly get targeted, as it is hereditary (great con that one)…. but at the time, all we are told is “”oh you are anxious, take this happy pill”…..
      so all your kids now worry they are “mental patients”… just like you are, unwittingly..
      Yes, I can see eventually all people with a “mental person” in their hereditary, will be forcibly injected with a “preventative”…. how absurd………. think about it, you take a psych drug, YOU ALREADY LABELLED.

      Report comment

  8. After being prescribed more than 75 psychiatric drugs in the last three decades, and although I’m off them all now, I developed these extremely painful stomach problems that began 6 months past all the ‘cold turkey’ withdrawals. Over the past year I’ve had about 12 ‘episodes’ (each one last 8-9 hours where it feels like my stomach is in one long spasm.) Morphine doesn’t touch it. The ER has to inject Dalaudid to relieve the pain. Currently involved with a Gasterologist who’s recommended about $16,000 dollars worth of testing and this doesn’t count $10,000 for ER visits. I also have no hope that they’ll find exactly whats wrong, because I know it’s from long-term use of psych meds, and doctors never take that into account. What’s sad about this whole picture is that our Government (my Medicaid & Medicare) has no problem paying over 20 Grand for my stomach issue, yet when I went looking for a Holistic doctor or Nutritionalist last month Medicaid or Medicare doesn’t cover either one. So I’m stuck with the ‘insane’ usual Medical care who’s only going to prescribe more damn drugs.

    Report comment