Volume 48, Issue 2 (March 2003)
Polydrug Fatality Involving Metaxalone
A 29-year old female with a history of depression was found dead in a hotel room. The death scene investigation found empty pill bottles and an empty liter bottle of wine. Metaxalone, a centrally acting muscle relaxant, along with citalopram, ethanol, and chlorpheniramine were identified in the postmortem samples and quantitated by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The concentration of metaxalone in femoral vein blood was 39 mg/L. The heart blood concentration was 54 mg/L. Femoral vein blood concentrations of citalopram and chlorpheniramine were 0.77 mg/L and 0.04 mg/L, respectively. Ethanol levels were 0.13 g/dL in vitreous and 0.08 g/dL in heart blood. Other tissue samples were also analyzed. The authors consider the metaxalone concentrations toxic and potentially fatal. The citalopram concentrations were lower than those reported in fatal cases for this drug alone. Death was ascribed to polydrug abuse/overdose with metaxalone a major contributor. This represents the first reported case to our knowledge in which a metaxalone overdose significantly contributed to death.