Monday, March 15, 2010

Some Well Known Celebrity Deaths Caused By Prescription Drugs

Marilyn  MonroeMarilyn Monroe
August 5, 1962
Drugs: Pentobarbital (AKA Nembutal) and chloral hydrate (sleeping pills)

The sex symbol actress was found dead at age 36 in her Los Angeles home early on the morning of August 5. The toxicology report showed high levels of two barbiturates in her blood: Nembutal and chloral hydrate. Monroe's "acute barbiturate poisoning" was listed as a "probable suicide," but many people believe that it was an accidental overdose or even a murder.

Heath  LedgerHeath Ledger
Date: February 6, 2008
Drugs: Six drugs: painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone, sleep aid temazepam and sedatives diazepam (AKA Valium), alprazolam (AKA Xanax) and doxylamine

The acclaimed Australian actor died unexpectedly at age 28 in his New York City apartment. The medical examiner found that "the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications," given the presence of six prescription medications in Ledger's body.

Anna  Nicole SmithAnna Nicole Smith
Date: February 8, 2007
Drugs: Eleven drugs, including chloral hydrate (sleep aid) and several sedatives/muscle relaxants: clonazepam (AKA Klonopin), lorazepam (AKA Ativan), oxazepam (AKA Serax) and diazepam (AKA Valium)

The controversial model was 39 when she was found dead in a Florida hotel. After an autopsy, the cause of death was found to be accidental "acute combined drug intoxication," athough the chloral hydrate (AKA Noctec) specifically was listed in the coroner's report as the "toxic/lethal drug." Just five months prior to her death, Smith's 20-year-old son Daniel had died from taking a combination of the antidepressants sertraline (AKA Zoloft) and escitalopram (AKA Lexapro), along with methadone (painkiller, anti-addiction aid).

Chris PennChris Penn
Date: January 24, 2006
Drugs: Promethazine (antihistamine) and codeine (painkiller)

Actor Penn, 40, was found dead in his Santa Monica, California home from cardiomyopathy (heart disease), possibly aggravated by the promethazine and codeine in his system. Obesity and an enlarged heart likely also played a part.

Jimi  HendrixJimi Hendrix
Date: September 18, 1970
Secobarbital, AKA Seconal (sleeping pill)

The influential American guitarist, 27, was found dead in his girlfriend's London hotel room, although some claim that he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. The cause of death noted on the coroner's report was "inhalation of vomit" after "barbiturate intoxication (quinalbarbitone)". Quinalbarbitone is the British term for the sleep aid secobarbital; the pills belonged to Hendrix's girlfriend. His death is believed to have been accidental, although some have suggested suicide.

Bruce LeeBruce Lee
Date: July 20, 1973
Drug: Equagesic (painkiller)

The iconic martial artist died in Hong Kong at the age of 32 from swelling of the brain ("acute cerebral edema") caused by an allergic reaction to the prescription painkiller equagesic, which contains aspirin and the muscle relaxant meprobamate. The pill was given to him by an actress friend after he complained of a headache.

(List courtesy of: Pill Talk)

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