If Brittany Murphy was actually taking a combination of the drugs found in her home, the results could have been lethal, says a pain medication doc.
Though an official cause of Brittany Murphy‘s death won’t be announced until toxicology results arrive in 4 to 6 weeks, the amount of varied prescription drugs reportedly found in her home (as reported by TMZ) is raising a whole lot of eyebrows in the medical community. Taking multiple forms of anti-anxiety medication – Klonopin and Atavin -in conjunction with several different types of painkillers – Vicoprofen and Hydrocodene – could have contributed to her death, according to Dr. Nolan Tzou, an anesthesiologist and pain medication specialist based in Huntington, N.Y.
“Klonopin and Ativan [both anti-anxiety medications] depress your level of consciousness, and you can become unarousable,” Dr. Tzou says. “The combination of those with Vicoprofen and Hydrocodone [both pain killers] could have depressed it even further. Someone with both pain and anxiety problems should have been seeing a pain management doctor, as well as a psychiatrist.”
If these medications were reducing Brittany’s consciousness, that would certainly explain the strange behavior she reportedly exhibited on the set of the thriller she filmed in summer 2009, Something Wicked . According to on-set sources, Brittany was having a difficult time holding herself together between takes, and often lost her place in the middle of a scene.
Dr. Tzou says the vomiting and stomach pains Brittany reportedly experienced the week before her death could have been caused by the anxiety she was being treated for, and may have been further aggravated , by the dangerous mixture of medications. He also says she may have ignored the severity of these symptoms because she simply assumed they were normal side effects of the medication.
“Many stage performers use Propranolol – a heart medication -before going on stage as a way to keep their heart rate down,” Dr. Tzou says. “It’s been reported to cause levels of sedation. If her blood sugar was too high or too low [as a result of her Type 2 Diabetes], combining Propranolol with any other suppressant could have proven disastrous.”
As for whether or not Brittany may have been addicted to prescription drugs, Dr. Tzou says that “someone who is on this many medications immediately sets off a red flag. … In pain management, we often use a combination of medications to treat patients, but when you have so many overlapping, you have to wonder if she may have been getting multiple medications from different doctors — or just one incompetent doctor.”
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