Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
Toxicology and Characteristics of Deaths Involving Zolpidem in New South Wales, Australia 2001–2010*
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2012
© 2012 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 57, Issue 5, pages 1259–1262, September 2012
How to Cite
Darke, S., Deady, M. and Duflou, J. (2012), Toxicology and Characteristics of Deaths Involving Zolpidem in New South Wales, Australia 2001–2010. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 57: 1259–1262. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2012.02117.x
- Issue published online: 5 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2012
- Received 28 Feb. 2011; and in revised form 17 May 2011; accepted 3 July 2011.
- forensic science;
Abstract: All cases presenting to the New South Wales Department of Forensic Medicine between January 1, 2001 and September 31, 2010 in which zolpidem was detected, were retrieved. A total of 91 cases were identified. The mean age was 49.4 years, 65.9% were male, and 61.5% were suicides. Zolpidem was a factor contributing to death in 35 (37.3%) cases, of which 31 (34.1%) involved zolpidem toxicity. The median blood zolpidem concentration was 0.20 mg/L (range 0.05–3.50 mg/L), with no significant gender difference. Drug toxicity cases involving zolpidem had significantly higher median blood zolpidem concentrations than other cases (0.50 vs. 0.10 mg/L). In 83.5% of cases, psychoactive substances other than zolpidem were detected, most commonly antidepressants (46.2%), benzodiazepines (35.2%), opioids (26.4%), and alcohol (39.6%). In summary, zolpidem was a factor contributing to death in a large proportion of cases, predominately involving drug toxicity and suicide.