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J Forensic Sci. 1997 Jan;42(1):155-6.

Detection of alprazolam in three cases of methadone/benzodiazepine overdose.

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University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294, USA.


Benzodiazepine abuse is common among clients at methadone maintenance clinics. Diazepam and lorazepam are readily detected by immunological screening methods and confirmed by GC/MS. Alprazolam has been relatively difficult to confirm. We recently reported a modification of an existing serum HPLC procedure which allows us to analyze whole blood. We report here three cases of fatal drug overdose caused by co-ingestion of methadone and alprazolam. In all three cases, alprazolam was detected by HPLC and could not be identified by alkaline extraction GC/MS. Postmortem blood concentrations of methadone were at the lower range or below the concentrations previously identified in methadone overdose fatalities, suggesting an increased risk from co-ingestion of methadone and alprazolam.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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