The autopsy report says Matthew Perry died from the effects of ketamine

The autopsy report says Matthew Perry died from the effects of ketamine

Los Angeles (AFP) – Matthew Perry He died from acute effects of the anesthetic ketamine, according to autopsy results for the 54-year-old “Friends” actor released on Friday.

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner said in an autopsy report that Perry also drowned in the “hot end of his pool,” but that was a minor factor in his death on Oct. 28, which was ruled an accident.

People close to Perry told investigators that he was submissive Ketamine infusion therapy, an experimental treatment It is used to treat depression and anxiety. But the medical examiner said the ketamine levels in Perry’s system were in the range used for general anesthesia during surgery, and that his last treatment a week and a half ago would not explain those levels. The drug is usually metabolized within hours.

Coronary artery disease and buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid use disorder, also contributed, the report says.

The amount of ketamine discovered “would be enough to cause him to lose consciousness and lose his stance and his ability to keep himself above water,” said Dr. Andrew Stolbach, a medical toxicologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine who reviewed the autopsy report upon request. Associated Press.

“Using sedative medications in a pool or hot tub, especially when you are alone, is very dangerous and, unfortunately, deadly,” said Stolbach, who noted that both ketamine and buprenorphine can be used safely.

Perry was pronounced dead after he was found unconscious at his home in the Pacific Palisades area of ​​Los Angeles. Investigators conducted an autopsy the next day.

The actor had used drugs in the past, but had reportedly been “clean for 19 months,” according to the report.

The report says Perry played pickleball earlier in the day, and his assistant, who lives with him, found him face down in the pool after returning from errands.

The assistant told investigators that Perry was not sick, had no health complaints, and showed no evidence of recent alcohol or drug use.

Post-mortem blood tests showed “high levels” of ketamine in his system, which could have raised his blood pressure and heart rate and impaired his urge to breathe.

Buprenorphine, commonly used in opioid addiction and present in therapeutic levels in Perry’s blood, could have contributed to the breathing problem, the autopsy said. It was dangerous to mix CNS depressants with ketamine “due to additive respiratory effects when high levels of ketamine are present,” according to the autopsy report.

The report said that his coronary artery disease would have made him more vulnerable to the effects of medications.

Perry was among the biggest TV stars of his generation when he played Chandler Bing alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004. NBC’s huge sitcom “Friends.”

His comrades, like many of his friends, family and fans, were surprised by his death, and Pay him a loving tribute In the weeks that followed.

Perry was an extrovert Discussing his struggles with addiction It dates back to his time on “Friends”.

“I loved everything about the show but I struggled with my own addictions which heightened my sense of shame,” he wrote in his 2022 memoir. “I had a secret and no one could know it.”

A woman whose name was redacted in the autopsy report told investigators that Perry was in good spirits when she spoke to him a few days ago, but he was taking testosterone shots that she said made him “angry and mean.” She said he quit smoking two weeks ago.

The woman said he was receiving ketamine injections for his mental health, and that his doctor was giving them to him less frequently because he was feeling unwell.

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic It has been approved by US health regulators for use during surgery, but in the past decade it has emerged as an experimental treatment for a range of difficult-to-treat psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Although not approved by regulatory bodies, doctors are free to prescribe the drugs for these alternative uses if they believe their patients could benefit, and hundreds of clinics across the United States offer ketamine injections and other formulations for various health conditions.


AP Medical Writer Karla K. contributed reporting. Johnson in Washington state, health writer Matthew Perron in Washington, D.C., and Ryan J. Foley in Iowa City, Iowa.

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