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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • citalopram;
  • toxicity;
  • toxicology;
  • suicide;
  • polydrug

Abstract

All cases presenting to the New South Wales Department of Forensic Medicine between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2010 in which citalopram was detected were retrieved. A total of 348 cases were identified. Citalopram contributed to death in 21.0%, and was incidental in 79.0%. Cases in which citalopram was contributory to death had significantly higher blood citalopram concentrations than incidental cases (0.50 mg/L vs. 0.30 mg/L). Citalopram concentrations varied significantly by contributory status: sole citalopram toxicity (median = 1.30 mg/L), citalopram/other drug toxicity (0.50 mg/L), and incidental cases (0.30 mg/L). Citalopram concentrations also varied by suicide status, with the highest concentration found in suicides where citalopram contributed to death (0.70 mg/L) compared with 0.50 mg/L for nonsuicide cases where citalopram contributed to death. In almost all contributory cases (69/73), other psychoactive substances were also detected, most commonly benzodiazepines (47.9%), alcohol (45.2%), and opioids (40.1%).