The relevance of cytochrome P450 polymorphism in forensic medicine and akathisia-related violence and suicide
OPEN Journal of forensic and legal medicine | 4 May 2016
SJ Eikelenboom-Schieveld, Y Lucire and JC Fogleman
Adverse drug reactions and interactions are among the major causes of death in the United States. Antidepressants have been reported as causing suicide and homicide and share the class attribute of frequently producing akathisia, a state of severe restlessness associated with thoughts of death and violence. Medical examiners can now identify some pharmacogenetic interactions that cause drugs, deemed safe for most, to be lethal to others. Such deaths do not yet include medication-induced, akathisia-related suicides and homicides. An extrapyramidal side effect, akathisia is a manifestation of drug toxicity whose causes lie, inter alia, in drugs, doses, and co-prescribed medications that inhibit and compete for metabolizing enzymes, which may themselves be defective. In this paper, we report our investigation into adverse drug reactions/interactions in three persons who committed homicide, two also intending suicide, while on antidepressants prescribed for stressful life events. Their histories of medication use, adverse reactions and reasons for changes in medications are presented. DNA samples were screened for variants in the cytochrome P450 gene family; that produce drug metabolizing enzymes. All three cases exhibit genotype-based diminished metabolic capability that, in combination with their enzyme inhibiting/competing medications, decreased metabolism further and are the likely cause of these catastrophic events.
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