International journal of legal medicine

Interpretation of drug concentrations in an alternative matrix: the case of meprobamate in vitreous humor.

PMID 21337124


The use of vitreous humor (VH) as an alternative matrix to blood in the field of forensic toxicology has been described for numerous drugs. Interpretation of drug concentrations measured in VH, as in other matrices, requires statistical analysis of a data set obtained on a significant series. In the present study, two diagnostic tests interpreting postmortem VH concentrations of meprobamate in 117 sets of autopsy data are reported. (1) A VH meprobamate concentration threshold of 28 mg/l was statistically equivalent to that of blood meprobamate concentration threshold of 50 mg/l distinguishing overdose from therapeutic use in blood. The intrinsic qualities of the test were good, with sensitivity of 0.95 and absolute specificity of 1. (2) A novel interpretation tool is proposed, allowing blood concentration range to be evaluated, with a known probability, from VH concentration.