Meptazinol and ethanol: a fatal intoxication

Peter D. Maskell*, Giorgia L. De Paoli, Nitin Seetohul, Derrick J. Pounder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Meptazinol (Meptid®) is an analgesic drug that is used to treat mild to moderate pain including postoperative pain, obstetrical pain, and the pain of renal colic. This case reports a death due to the combined effects of meptazinol and alcohol in a man with significant heart disease and alcoholic liver disease. A 57-year-old male was found unresponsive in his bed at home with empty blister packets of meptazinol around him. A general drug screen detected the presence of meptazinol, and caffeine and metabolites, in cardiac blood. Analysis, both quantitative (HPLC-DAD) and qualitative (HPLC-DAD, LC-MS), of meptazinol was carried out. Meptazinol was found at the following concentrations: 15.5 mg/L in unpreserved femoral blood; 18.6 mg/L in preserved (fluorideoxalate) femoral blood; 52.1 mg/L in unpreserved cardiac blood; 16.8 mg/L in preserved vitreous; 61.7 mg/L in unpreserved urine; and 9.8 g/L in stomach contents. Ethanol, analyzed by headspace GC-FID, was present in preserved (fluoride-oxalate) femoral venous blood, urine, and vitreous at concentrations of 232 mg/100 mL, 297 mg/100 mL, and 192 mg/100 mL, respectively. Death was attributed to meptazinol and ethanol toxicity, with atherosclerotic coronary artery disease as a contributing factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-73
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Analytical Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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