Premature Deaths in Persons with Seizure Disorders—Subtherapeutic Levels of Anticonvulsant Drugs in Postmortem Blood Specimens

    Volume 23, Issue 3 (July 1978)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 1 July 1978

    Page Count: 5


    Bowerman, DL
    Pathologist, toxicologist, director of laboratory, and pathologist, St. Francis Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo.

    Levisky, JA
    Pathologist, toxicologist, director of laboratory, and pathologist, St. Francis Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo.

    Wittenberg, PH
    Pathologist, toxicologist, director of laboratory, and pathologist, St. Francis Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo.

    Urich, RW
    Pathologist, toxicologist, director of laboratory, and pathologist, St. Francis Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo.

    (Received 16 September 1977; accepted 7 December 1977)

    Abstract

    The purpose of this paper is to point out the possibility of death occurring prematurely in epileptics from apparently inadequate anticonvulsant therapy. Moreover, the information may be useful to the forensic pathologist faced with the “difficult autopsy” [1] where no definite cause of death is found. Toxicology is most useful in demonstrating deaths resulting from overdoses. However, subtherapeutic or negative anticonvulsant drug levels in a known epileptic may have equal usefulness in establishing a probable cause of death. The potential problem for the pathologist may be emphasized if he realizes there are approximately 1.7 million epileptics living in the United States today [2]. Rarely does the death of an epileptic make headlines in a major newspaper.


    Paper ID: JFS10701J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS10701J

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    Author
    Title Premature Deaths in Persons with Seizure Disorders—Subtherapeutic Levels of Anticonvulsant Drugs in Postmortem Blood Specimens
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30