Prescription Drugs Contributed to Actress Brittany Murphy’s Death

Prescription Drugs Contributed to Actress Brittany Murphy’s Death

The Los Angeles County coroner’s autopsy concluded that the drugs involved in actress Brittany Murphy’s death last December were apparently used to treat a cold or respiratory infection. An earlier statement from the coroner said Murphy’s death was an accident caused by a combination of pneumonia, an iron deficiency and "multiple drug intoxication."

Alan Duke of CNN.com writes that the full autopsy report made public Thursday details the drugs that were found in the 32-year-old actress’s body after she died in her Hollywood Hills home December 20.

"Multiple medications were present in the blood, with elevated levels of hydrocodone, acetaminophen, and chlorpheniramine. L-methamphetamine was also present," the report said.

“The pattern of use of these medications suggest treatment of symptoms of a cold or other respiratory infection. Acetaminophen and hydrocodone are components of Vicodin. Chlorpheniramine is the active ingredient in some over-the-counter medications. L-methamphetamine is a component of some inhalers,” the coroner said.

The death was ruled an accident because "possible adverse physiological effects of elevated levels of these medications cannot be discounted, especially in her weakened state," the report said.

The autopsy showed Murphy was suffering from "acute pneumonia consistent with a community-acquired infection."

The "chronic iron deficiency" she had (likely caused by heavy menstrual periods) "leads to a weakened state of health and would increase her vulnerability to infection," the report said.

Her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, told People magazine the actress had "laryngitis and flu-like symptoms" at the time of her death.

Monjack said Murphy used Vicoprofen to relieve pain from severe menstrual cramps. Vicoprofen includes hydrocodone and ibuprofen.

"She was on an antibiotic and was taking cough medicine," he said.

Murphy was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after she was rushed there in the early morning hours of Sunday, December 20.

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