Jackson’s Death Ruled a Homicide, Multiple Rx Drugs the Cause

Dr. Conrad Murray and Michael Jackson

According to a search warrant affidavit that was just unsealed, Dr. Conrad Murray had been treating Michael Jackson for insomnia (sleeplessness) for several weeks prior to Jackson’s death. Dr. Murray was using the following drugs: propofol (Diprivan), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed) and diazepam (Valium) in various combinations and doses. None of these drugs are FDA-approved for treating insomnia.

  • Ativan and Valium are used for treating anxiety disorders.
  • Versed is used for sedation prior to surgery and other medical procedures.
  • Diprivan is used to induce and maintain anesthesia.

None of this means, of course, that doctors can’t prescribe drugs for “off label” uses as described in our previous post: What drugs are doctors allowed to prescribe? Such off-label use is a matter of professional judgment and responsibility. Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System, has referred to the Jackson case, however, as “horrible polypharmacy.” Polypharmacy simply refers to the use of multiple drugs in a patient.

Resounding
Health(TM)
lorazepam midazolam diazepam
Resounding
Health(TM)
Propofol

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Schwenck

    August 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I mean, I do know it was my choice to read, but I truly thought youd have something fascinating to say.

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