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Commonly Encountered Prescription Medications in Medical-Legal Death Investigation: A Guide for Death Investigators and Medical Examiners

Heninger, Michael M. M.D.

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:

The most common prescription medications encountered and recorded in the normal course of a death investigation by a medical examiner's office in a moderate-sized jurisdiction in an urban city are tallied, based on data collected from 2233 deaths reported in 1998. Medication history was available for 775 of these deaths and is reviewed in this study. The 25 most common medications are each briefly discussed, particularly adverse effects and possible toxicity of concern in the investigation of death. Medications to treat cardiovascular disease are by far the most commonly encountered. The 10 most common medications regardless of category were furosemide, digoxin, nitroglycerin, potassium, lisinopril, warfarin, albuterol, nifedipine, codeine, and amlodipine.

Author Information

From the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Manuscript received August 23, 1999; revised February 11, 2000; accepted February 18, 2000.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Michael M. Heninger, Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office, 430 Pryor Street SW, Atlanta, GA 30312, U.S.A.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.