Analytical Problems with Putrefaction in a Fatal Case Involving Ergotamine and Pentazocine

    Volume 22, Issue 3 (July 1977)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 1 July 1977

    Page Count: 8


    van Mansvelt, FJW
    Associate professor and Head, and research associates, Laboratory for Pharmaceutical and Analytical Chemistry, State University, Groningen,

    Greving, JE
    Associate professor and Head, and research associates, Laboratory for Pharmaceutical and Analytical Chemistry, State University, Groningen,

    de Zeeuw, RA
    Associate professor and Head, and research associates, Laboratory for Pharmaceutical and Analytical Chemistry, State University, Groningen,

    (Received 27 October 1976; accepted 6 January 1977)

    Abstract

    A drug addict was found dead under suspicious circumstances, but an investigation immediately afterwards did not reveal any drugs in the blood or any pathological indication to explain the cause of death. Six weeks after death a toxicological reinvestigation was requested because of new evidence. By that time, blood decomposition had already started and interfered heavily with normal extraction procedures. This necessitated the use of an acid hydrolysis procedure which revealed the presence of pentazocine and ergotamine, the latter in the form of specific degradation products. This case is of interest as it emphasizes the problems related to the binding of basic drugs to blood proteins or cells, thus rendering them unavailable for solvent extraction procedures. In addition, a search of the literature failed to reveal any other fatal case in which ergotamine was reported to be detectable in postmortem blood.


    Paper ID: JFS10626J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS10626J

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    Title Analytical Problems with Putrefaction in a Fatal Case Involving Ergotamine and Pentazocine
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30