Document Detail

Characteristics of alprazolam-related deaths compiled by a centralized state medical examiner.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23786507     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Unintentional drug poisoning deaths represent a major health concern, particularly in rural areas. Although alprazolam is frequently detected in drug-related deaths, characterization of its involvement is limited. Our objective was to compare the characteristics of alprazolam-related deaths with nonalprazolam deaths in a predominantly rural state.
METHODS: A comprehensive forensic drug database (FDD) was developed in 2005 to compile demographic, toxicology, and co-morbidity information from all West Virginia (WV) drug-related deaths. All FDD data from 2005 to mid-November 2007 were analyzed.
RESULTS: Alprazolam contributed to 204 (17.0%) of the 1,199 drug-related deaths and was identified in 7.2% of the 363 deaths occurring during 2005 and in 27.5% of the 422 deaths entered in the database during 2007. At least one other drug, predominantly an opioid, was identified in 97.5% of the alprazolam cases, with concurrent benzodiazepines also found. Compared to nonalprazolam deaths, alprazolam decedents were significantly more likely to be obese and to have preexisting cardiovascular disease, but were less likely to have documented substance abuse. An alprazolam prescription existed in 52.5% of the alprazolam deaths, with 77.6% having a prescription for all drugs identified.
CONCLUSIONS: Alprazolam was a contributing cause of death in a substantial and increasing number of drug-related deaths. Prescriptions for alprazolam and the other drugs detected were often present in these cases.
SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: Controlled substance monitoring programs should be routinely used as one mechanism to help prevent potential drug misuse/abuse. Our findings provide a baseline for ongoing alprazolam-related death surveillance.
Neel A Shah; Marie A Abate; Michael J Smith; James A Kaplan; James C Kraner; David J Clay
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal on addictions / American Academy of Psychiatrists in Alcoholism and Addictions     Volume:  21 Suppl 1     ISSN:  1521-0391     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Addict     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-06-21     Completed Date:  2013-10-21     Revised Date:  2014-07-31    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9208821     Medline TA:  Am J Addict     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  S27-34     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.
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MeSH Terms
Alprazolam / poisoning*
Analgesics, Opioid / poisoning*
Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
Cause of Death
Drug Overdose / epidemiology,  mortality*
Hypnotics and Sedatives / poisoning*
Middle Aged
Obesity / epidemiology
Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
West Virginia / epidemiology
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Analgesics, Opioid; 0/Hypnotics and Sedatives; YU55MQ3IZY/Alprazolam

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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