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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Toxicology reports

10/29/2008

Question:

My sister died in Spain on February 14, 2008. The autopsy report was inconclusive pending a toxicology report. She "self medicated" for fibromyalgia and depression and had long QT. My actual question is whether the toxicology report can still be reliable after so much time has passed? I don`t know why it is taking so long to analyze the blood sample. We are anxious to know how my sister died but also concerned because other members of my family have long QT. Can you let me know if it is normal to have to wait and can we expect reliable results about what drugs she may have taken?

Answer:

It's unclear to me why there is this delay. I think it's fair to assume that after the blood draw there probably was an analysis of many potential compounds (blood toxicology screen), which can be identified fairly quickly even when each of the agents are measured quantitatively. I would guess that there is another reason for the delay.

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Response by:

Nicholas A Votolato, RPh BCPP Nicholas A Votolato, RPh BCPP
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy
College of Pharmacy
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University