Journal Article

A Fatality Involving Zolpidem

Mark Lichtenwalner and Robert Tully

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 21, issue 7, pages 567-569
Published in print November 1997 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online November 1997 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI:
A Fatality Involving Zolpidem

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An elderly woman residing in an independent-living retirement community was found dead in the bathtub. She had a history of depression and was prescribed Ambien® (generic name zolpidem) for the treatment of insomnia. Two empty prescription bottles of Ambien were found; both were for 10-mg tablets with a total quantity of 60. A postmortem examination was conducted, and blood, urine, and gastric contents were submitted for toxicology screening. The cause of death was drowning. The only remarkable toxicology finding was zolpidem. Quantitative analysis by gas chromatography—mass spectrometry determined the following concentrations of zolpidem: blood, 7.9 µg/mL and urine, 4.1 µg/mL. A total of 7 mg unabsorbed zolpidem was found in the gastric contents. Our findings report the highest blood concentration of zolpidem reported to date and corroborate other studies that imply that death due solely to overdosage of zolpidem is an unlikely occurrence.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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