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February 15 2013

Anti-anxiety drug found in rivers makes fish more aggressive


Tiny amounts of a common anti-anxiety medication which ends up in wastewater after patients pass it into their urine significantly alters fish behaviour, according to a new study. The drug makes timid fish bold, antisocial and voracious, researchers have found.

Oxazepam belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines, the most widely prescribed anxiety drugs, and is thought to be highly stable in aquatic environments. It acts by enhancing neuron signals that damp down the brain's activity, helping patients to relax.

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