I’ll leave my neuropharmacology and neuroscience colleagues to comment in greater detail on this story (see earlier DrugMonkey post), but this report is just in from AP on Heath Ledger’s toxicology report:
The cause of death was “acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine,” spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said in a statement.
I haven’t seen a copy of the report itself (maybe Smoking Gun will have it soon) but plasma concentrations of each were not noted. However, this was the statement from the family:
In a statement released through Ledger’s publicist, the actor’s father, Kim, said Wednesday: “While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath’s accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage.”
Is it me or would the redundant use of two opioids and three benzodiazepines (plus an antihistamine with good anticholinergic activity) seem to indicate an intentional rather than accidental overdose? Not that it matters and this has already been painful enough for the family but I’m just thinking out loud.
A very sad conclusion to a very sad story.