Amlodipine is a dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker widely used in the treatment of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Intoxication can lead to reflex tachycardia following massive hypotension and death. The objective of this work was to study the post-mortem concentrations of amlodipine in 62 patients in order to determine whether the use of the reference concentrations from the living patients was applicable in postmortem setting, and to define more precisely the fatal and non-fatal postmortem concentrations of amlodipine. The amlodipine concentrations were measured in femoral whole blood by LC-MS/MS validated method. When sufficient information was available, the data were classified into 2 different groups, based on the conclusions of the autopsy and toxicological results: G1: non-toxic death and G2: fatal poisoning involving amlodipine alone or as part of a multidrug poisoning. The median concentration of amlodipine [1st quartile – 3rd quartile] of the whole population (n = 62) was 81 [42-134] ng/mL. Twenty-two cases were classified as G1 and thirteen as G2. The observed median [1st quartile – 3rd quartile] concentration of amlodipine was 66 [40.5-79.5] ng/mL in G1 and 240 [170-404] ng/mL in G2. The median concentrations observed in “non-toxic” deaths (66 ng/mL) were three times higher than those usually observed in living patients. Amlodipine distribution ratio between plasma and whole blood concentrations seems insufficient to explain this difference and postmortem redistribution from organs should be considered, and could suggest the same redistribution pattern for other drugs belonging to the same family.
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