Well, it seems the toxicology reports are in and Brittany’s death was, at least partially, caused by her taking of multiple prescription drugs. Still, it seems that she was trying to medicate a host of conditions brought on by her underlying anemia and pneumonia. It’s sad to think that this death could have likely been prevented had she simply taken better care of herself and gone to seek emergency care rather than loading her body with those pills. Unfortunately, this seems to be another in a string of medically preventable deaths… Sad.
Brittany Murphy, the actress from “Clueless,” and “8 Mile” died last night at Cedars-Sinai in Beverly Hills at the age of 32. Brittany has been rumored to be suffering from severe eating disorders, and recent pictures seem to support that notion. Given that she apparently died from cardiac arrest, I’m wondering if drugs (even prescription drugs) played a role in the death as well… I’ll keep updating the story as more becomes available.
My heart goes out to her family and friends. Certainly a loss suffered far too early.
UPDATE: According to the police report, a number of prescription drugs were discovered in Brittany’s bedroom including (read past the list for my take on this):
- Topamax – While TMZ reported this drug to be used as anti-seizure medication, it is also used to reduce weight-gain associated with the use of many other prescription drugs on this list. Lastly, it is considered to be a mood stabilizer.
- Methylprednisolone – An anti-inflammatory that may be used to treat bronchial infections
- Prozac – A commonly prescribed SSRI anti-depression med.
- Klonopin – A benzodiazepine anti-anxiety prescription medication that is also used to help with insomnia. Like most benzos, the probability of overdose is low if used properly, but overdose would lead to cardiac arrest.
- Carbamazepine – Another anti-convulsant mood stabilizer often used to treat bipolar disorder. This prescription drug can be very dangerous when combined with other medications due to its actions on GABA and extensive alteration of Sodium channel activity. It is also a bipolar med.
- Ativan – Once again a benzodiazepine that is often used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
- Vicoprofen – A pain reliever that includes an opioid (it sounds like vicodin for a reason).
- Propranolol – Prescription med used to treat hypertension and as an alternative, less habit-forming anti-anxiety drug.
- Biaxin – An antibiotic.
- Hydrocodone – Same as Vicoprofen, an analgesic (pain reducing) prescription drug.
What do I think killed Brittany?
With 2 benzodiazepine medications, 2 opiates, and antidepressant, and a drug that is made to lower one’s heart pressure, it’s no wonder that Brittany was found not breathing. I’m going to wait until the final toxicology report to draw a definite conclusion, but from this list, it seems highly likely that a dangerous combination of these prescription drugs was taken, which resulted in Brittany’s heart stopping. Even when taken at their prescribed strengths, these medication, when combined, can form a lethal cocktail.
You should ALWAYS check with your doctor regarding interactions between different prescriptions you’re taking, especially when those medications haven’t all been prescribed by the same physician!