Volume 45, Issue 4 (July 2000)
A Mixed-Drug Intoxication Involving Venlafaxine and Verapamil
This case report describes the suicide of a 52-year-old woman whose cause of death was attributed to a mixed-drug intoxication involving venlafaxine and verapamil. Venlafaxine is prescribed for the treatment of depression and should be used with caution in patients with cardiovascular disease. Verapamil is a calcium channel blocker primarily used for treatment of cardiovascular disorders. The following drug concentrations were determined in postmortem fluids: verapamil—3.5 mg/L (femoral blood), 9.4 mg/L (subclavian blood), and 1.0 mg/L (vitreous fluid); norverapamil—1.0 mg/L (femoral blood), 2.1 mg/L (subclavian blood), and 0.20 mg/L (vitreous fluid); verapamil and norverapamil could not be detected in bile or urine due to the high levels of erythromycin present; venlafaxine—6.2 mg/L (femoral blood), 8.6 mg/L (subclavian blood), 5.3 mg/L (vitreous fluid), 54.0 mg/L (bile), and 72.3 mg/L (urine); and O-desmethylvenlafaxine—5.4 mg/L (femoral blood), 8.3 mg/L (subclavian blood), positive (vitreous fluid), 29.2 mg/L (bile), and 9.5 mg/L (urine). The cause of death was determined to be a mixed-drug intoxication resulting from an overdose of verapamil and venlafaxine. The manner of death was determined to be suicide.