Journal Article

A Fatality Due To Alprazolam Intoxication

Amanda J. Jenkins, Barry Levine, J. Laron Locke and John E. Smialek

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 21, issue 3, pages 218-220
Published in print May 1997 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online May 1997 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/21.3.218
A Fatality Due To Alprazolam Intoxication

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Alprazolam is one of the most widely prescribed benzodiazepines in the United States. It is generally considered a safe and effective drug for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Few overdoses that are due to the sole ingestion of alprazolam have been reported. This paper documents a fatality due to alprazolam intoxication and describes the distribution of alprazolam and an active metabolite, α-hydroxyalprazolam, in tissues obtained at autopsy. Qualitative identification of the drugs was achieved by full-scan gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and quantitative analysis was performed by high-performance liquid chromatography. High concentrations of alprazolam were found in all specimens analyzed, but the metabolite was detected only in subclavian blood, urine, bile, and liver. A postmortem heart blood alprazolam concentration of 2.1 mg/L is the highest reported in the literature to date.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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