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Concentration distributions of the drugs most frequently identified in post-mortem femoral blood representing all causes of death
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Drug Research.
National Board for Forensic Medicine.
2009 (English)In: Medicine, Science and the Law, ISSN 0025-8024, Vol. 49, no 4, 257-273 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Interpreting the concentrations of drugs determined in post-mortem blood is not an easy task owing to poly-drug use, adverse drug-drug interactions, as well as a host of pre-analytical factors and various artefacts in post-mortem toxicology. Highly sensitive and specific methods (GC-FID, GC-NPD. GC-MS and LC-MS) were used to determine the concentrations of drugs in femoral blood from 24,876 autopsies representing all causes of death. Ethanol topped the list of psychoactive substances (N=8,108 or 33%) at mean, median and highest concentrations of 1.43 g/L, 1.20 g/L and 8.0 g/L, respectively. In second place was paracetamol (N=2,741 or 11%). Amphetamine and cannabis were the major illicit drugs at 13th and 15th positions, respectively. Newer antidepressants, citalopram (no 3), sertraline (no 14), venlafaxine (no 16) were prominent as were sedative-hypnotics, such as diazepam (no 4), zopiclone (no 5) and zolpidem (no 18). This compilation of drugs and their concentration distributions will be useful to identify and flag for a likely overdose or drug-related poisoning death. The drug concentration together with the findings at autopsy and the police report can then be used to reach a conclusion about the cause and manner of death.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 49, no 4, 257-273 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-52872ISI: 000273042400004OAI: diva2:285782
Available from: 2010-01-13 Created: 2010-01-12 Last updated: 2014-06-13

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Jones, A Wayne
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