Post Mortem Redistribution of Drugs: Current State of Knowledge

Author(s): Caroline Sastre, Christophe Bartoli, Valerie Baillif-Couniou, Georges Leonetti, Anne-Laure Pelissier-Alicot*

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 23 , Issue 36 , 2017

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Background: Drug concentrations obtained from post mortem samples do not necessarily reflect the concentrations at the time of death, and variations of concentration may be observed between different sites and/or different sampling times. These phenomena, collectively termed post mortem redistribution, concern numerous molecules (medications, drugs of abuse, gases, etc.) and can complicate the interpretation of toxicological analyses.

Methods: Literature review.

Results: The mechanisms that cause these phenomena are complex and often intricate. Certain organs, which concentrate the molecules before death, may release them very early in the vascular sector. The gastrointestinal tract, liver, lungs and myocardium are mainly concerned. Cell autolysis also plays a part in drug release. Furthermore, micro-organisms (mainly bacteria and yeasts) which colonize the organism during putrefaction may cause neoformation and/or the degradation of certain molecules. Lastly, it appears that the physicochemical and pharmacokinetic profile of xenobiotics, notably their lipophilic nature, their ionization state and their volume of distribution may be factors likely to influence redistribution phenomena. Some recommendations concerning anatomic sampling sites, sampling methods and sample storage make it possible to limit these phenomena.

Keywords: Post mortem redistribution, drug reservoirs, cell autolysis, putrefaction, neoformation, physicochemical and pharmacokinetic parameters, post mortem samples.

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Article Details

Year: 2017
Published on: 30 January, 2018
Page: [5530 - 5541]
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.2174/1381612823666170622111739
Price: $65

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