Coroner considers alert over drugs — (The Oxford Mail)

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The Oxford Mail

16 May 2007

A coroner is considering calling for an investigation into the side- effects of two drugs following an unexplained death.

Oxfordshire coroner Nicholas Gardiner recorded an open verdict on Janet Green, 50, of Kate Turnbull House, in Sandford Road, Littlemore, Oxford, at an inquest.

He is now considering calling on the Government’s medicines regulatory agency to look into her death. Mrs Green, who was born with cerebral palsy and had schizophrenia and depression, was found with five times the level of anti-depressant fluoxetine in her blood than that normally expected in someone using the drug.

The level of anti-schizophrenia drug sulpiride was also nearly high enough to cause death on its own, the inquest heard.

Mr Gardiner said he would consider issuing a ‘yellow card report’ on the drugs.

Mrs Green’s sister, Debbie Saunders, and psychiatrist Dr Janet Patterson, both said it was highly unlikely Mrs Green, who was ill in the two weeks before her death in a rehabilitation ward at Littlemore Hospital in July, 2005, and in a confused state, would have been able to hoard the medication in order to take an overdose.

Pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt told the inquest at County Hall that the cause of death was due to sulpiride and fluoxetine toxicity and pneumonia. He said: “We are left in the position that fluoxetine and sulpiride toxicity must have played some part in bringing about her death.”

Mr Gardiner said: “This is an extremely puzzling matter. I have no explanation for the accumulation of these drugs.”

10:30pm Wednesday 16th May 2007