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International journal of legal medicine

An acute gabapentin fatality: a case report with postmortem concentrations.


PMID 25904080

Abstract

Gabapentin (GBP) (Neurontin®, Horizant®, Gralise®) is a widely prescribed medication used primarily for the treatment of epilepsy and neuropathic pain. GBP has a favorable adverse effect profile in therapeutic dosing with the most common reported effects being dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, weight gain, and peripheral edema. Even with intentional GBP self-poisonings, serious effects are rare. A 47-year-old female was found dead at work with her daughter's bottle of GBP 600 mg. There were 26 tablets missing and the decedent's only known medication was hydrocodone/acetaminophen. Following initial detection by an alkaline drug screen (GC-MS), analysis utilizing specific liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed an elevated postmortem GBP peripheral blood concentration of 37 mg/L, central blood 32 mg/L, liver 26 mg/kg, vitreous 32 mg/L, and gastric contents 6 mg. Screening for volatiles, drugs of abuse, alkaline compounds, and acid/neutral compounds was negative with the exception of ibuprofen (<2 mg/L) detected in peripheral blood. This report presents a fatality that appears to be associated with an isolated and acute GBP ingestion.

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