The Las Vegas shooter was reportedly prescribed a common anxiety medication -- here's what you need to know about it

Mandalay bay windows las vegas shootingDavid Becker/Getty ImagesBroken windows are seen on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino after a lone gunman opened fired on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

People are still looking for the motive behind the Las Vegas shooting as more details come in.

One detail that has emerged around the shooter, Stephen Paddock, concerns his prescriptions. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that in June, Paddock was prescribed diazepam, sometimes known by its brand name, Valium. It’s a common medication used to treat anxiety.

The drug has been on the market since 1963, when it was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

It’s important to note that while Paddock may have been prescribed the drug, he wasn’t necessarily taking it on the night of the shooting that left 59 people dead and injured more than 500.

Here’s what you need to know about diazepam:

  • According to the National Library of Medicine, diazepam is used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. It can also be used to treat symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal.
  • Like all drugs, diazepam does have some side effects. Drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, dry mouth,

    diarrhoea, nausea, and changes in appetite are all common side effects associated with diazepam. The drug should not be taken with alcohol.

  • The Las Vegas Review-Journal described the prescription as an “anti-anxiety drug … that can lead to aggressive behaviour.” That link between diazepam and aggression can be traced back to a 1985 study in otherwise healthy male college students, which observed that among the participants who took the drug, aggression was intensified. A 2014 review of the literature came to the conclusion that there was a “moderate association” between benzodiazepines (of which diazepam is one) and aggressive behaviour, but trying to pinpoint the circumstances that led to that behaviour in some people was less clear.

As it stands now, the link between diazepam and Paddock’s actions is tenuous at best — though some celebrities have said otherwise.

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