Friday, January 25, 2008

A dangerous cocktail

From the Globe and Mail:
The sudden death of 28-year-old actor Heath Ledger, whose body was found Tuesday with sleeping pills nearby, has highlighted the dangers surrounding a drug class prescribed to millions of Canadians each year: sedatives.

An autopsy was inconclusive and more tests are needed to determine how the Australian-born former Oscar nominee died in his SoHo apartment, the New York medical examiner's office said yesterday.

But police reports that sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medications were found in the apartment - combined with a recent interview in which Mr. Ledger said he was using Ambien, a brand of sedative - suggest prescription drugs may have played a role.

While sleeping pills used alone are "reasonably safe," mixing those pills with other sedatives is a dangerous cocktail, said Jack Uetrecht, who holds a Canada Research Chair in immunotoxicology and whose research looks at adverse drug reactions. ...more

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