Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Autopsy finds Anna Nicole Smith died of accidental overdose

The Associated Press

Drugs taken by Anna Nicole Smith

The drugs found in Smith's body during the autopsy, with generic names in parentheses:

Ativan (lorazepam): anti-anxiety medication

Cipro (ciprofloxacin): antibiotic

Klonopin (clonazepam): anti-seizure medicine also used to treat anxiety

Methadone: strong painkiller, often used to suppress withdrawal from heroin

Noctec (chloral hydrate): sedative and sleeping medication

Robaxin (methocarbamol): muscle relaxant

Soma (meprobamate): muscle relaxant

Topamax (topiramate): anti-seizure medication also used to treat migraines

Tylenol (acetaminophen): pain reliever

Valium (diazepam): anti-anxiety medication, also used as a sedative and to treat seizures

In addition, she had taken these around the time of her death:

Benadryl (diphenhydramine): antihistamine

Human growth hormone: touted as a muscle-building, weight-reducing agent

Nicorette (nicotine polacrilex): used to quit smoking

Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate): anti-viral medicine

Vitamin B12: helps formation of red blood cells

Source: Broward County medical examiner's office; University of Miami toxicology department

DANIA BEACH, Fla. — Anna Nicole Smith accidentally overdosed on at least nine prescription drugs — including a powerful sleep syrup she was known to swig right out of the bottle — after a miserable last few days in which she endured flu, a 105-degree fever and an infection on her buttocks from repeated injections.

In an autopsy report released Monday, a medical examiner noted that the former Playboy playmate refused to go to a hospital three days before her Feb. 8 death. She chose to ride out her illness in a hotel suite littered with pill bottles, soda cans, SlimFast, nicotine gum and an open box of Tamiflu tablets.

Broward County Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper found that in the days leading up to her death, Smith, 39, had been taking large amounts of the seldom-prescribed sedative chloral hydrate, which also contributed to the 1962 overdose death of Smith's idol, Marilyn Monroe.

Police found no apparent signs of foul play, and the medical examiner also ruled that Smith's death probably was not a suicide because people who take their own lives typically use much more lethal drugs than chloral hydrate.

Rather, he said, Smith might have been simply unaware that the sedative could be fatal in combination with multiple other prescriptions she was taking in normal doses for anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Contributing factors included her weakened condition from flu and a fever brought on by the infection on her buttocks.

"She may have taken the dosages she was accustomed to but succumbed because she was already weakened," Perper said in his report. "Miss Smith has a long history of prescription drug abuse and self-medicated in the past."

The recommended dose of chloral hydrate is one to two teaspoons before bed. Smith often took two tablespoons, and she sometimes drank directly from the bottle, the report said.

A statement issued by lawyers for Howard K. Stern, Smith's companion who was with her before her death, said that Stern and Smith's physician urged her to get emergency treatment but that she refused because "she did not want the media frenzy that follows her."

The autopsy report left some unanswered questions, such as why it took so long for emergency personnel to be summoned when Smith was discovered unresponsive Feb. 8 in her room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

The report found that a private nurse had asked a bodyguard to call 911 around 1 p.m. and had started CPR. The Seminole EMS was called about 1:40 p.m. by a bodyguard and arrived six minutes later. The ambulance reached the hospital at 2:43 p.m., and Smith was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Perper said Smith could have been saved had she been hospitalized earlier in the week simply because her drug intake could have been controlled.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company


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