Aug 1, 1995

Death due to asphyxia linked to antipsychotic drugs

Nihon hōigaku zasshi = The Japanese journal of legal medicine
N JitsufuchiH Tokunaga


A 46-year-old man with schizophrenia, died in hospital. Autopsy revealed numerous facial injuries and the direct cause of death was apparently asphyxia as a large amount of coagulated blood was present in the lower part of the trachea and bronchi. The blood derived from a lacerated wound of the mouth. The question was raised as to why expectoration was impossible and a toxicological analysis was directed to the antipsychotic drugs allegedly prescribed by doctors at the hospital. Using gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, four different antipsychotic drugs including chlorpromazine, levomepromazine, zotepine and haloperidol were identified in the whole blood and tissues with concentrations being 1.91, 0.75, 0.61 and 0.48 micrograms/g in the blood, respectively. These levels were toxic to the extent that he could not expectorate and blood accumulating in the airway led to asphyxia and death.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Antipsychotic Effect
Fatal Outcome
Legal Medicine Discipline
Chromatography, Gas-Liquid-Mass Spectrometry
Facial Injuries

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