Case report: Metaxalone (Skelaxin®)-Related Death
The case history and toxicological findings of a fatal multi-drug overdose involving metaxalone (Skelaxin) are presented. Gas–liquid chromatography with flame-ionization detection and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry were used to determine the following drug concentrations (mg/L) in aortic blood: 19 mg/L metaxalone; 190 mg/L acetaminophen; 0.28 mg/L hydrocodone; and < 0.1 mg/L diazepam, nordiazepam, amitriptyline, and nortriptyline. The following concentrations of metaxalone were reported in alternate specimens: 17 mg/L in femoral blood; 44 mg/L in bile; 70 mg/kg in liver; 7 mg/L in urine; 202 mg/kg in gastric contents; and 14 mg/L in vitreous humor. These concentrations were determined using both direct extraction and the method of standard addition. The quantitative results obtained by both procedures were in good agreement. Because of the limited information published on metaxalone toxicity, the pathologist assigned the manner and cause of death as accidental acute hydrocodone intoxication. Four additional cases in which metaxalone was present were analyzed for comparison. Two cases were probable drug-related deaths and had metaxalone aorta blood concentrations of 18 and 11 mg/L. The other two cases had therapeutic metaxalone concentrations in the aortic blood of < 0.75 and 2.1 mg/L.