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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Drug Overdose Like Heath Ledger's Likely Killed Brittany Murphy Says Toxicology Expert

Dec. 22 2009, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

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After reviewing the long list of prescription drugs reportedly found in actress Brittany Murphy’s home, a toxicology expert tells that an accidental overdose like the one that claimed Heath Ledger’s life  “absolutely” could have resulted in her untimely death.

EXCLUSIVE: Hospital Tried To Revive Brittany Murphy Three Times

According to the reportedly leaked notes of an investigator from the coroner’s office, the medications found in Murphy’s bedroom included: Klonopin (anxiety med), Carbamazepine  (treats Diabetic symptoms and is also a bipolar med), Ativan (anxiety med), Vicoprofen (pain reliever), Hydrocodone (pain med) , Topamax (anti-seizure med also to prevent migraines), Propranolol (hypertension, used to prevent heart attacks), Biaxin (antibiotic), Methylprednisolone (anti-inflammatory), Fluoxetine (depression med) and miscellaneous vitamins. Some of the bottles were full while some were empty, the investigator wrote.

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Last Photo Of Brittany Murphy

“Absolutely, mixing a number of these drugs could have resulted in her death,” Dr. Bruce Goldberger, Professor and Director of Toxicology at the University Of Florida College of Medicine said. “At the moment it is pointing towards an overdose or at least that will have to be ruled out by the autopsy or toxicology results.” The results of Murphy’s toxicology tests will not be released for a few more weeks.

Ashton Kutcher Remembers Brittany

Murphy’s husband Simon Monjack revealed Tuesday that his wife suffered from a heart murmur (mitral valve prolapse). He claimed that the actress was not taking any meds for her congenital condition and had only been taking herbal tea, ginger and lemon before having her heart attack.

Brittany Murphy Dead at 32

Though Murphy was reportedly feeling ill during the days leading up to her death, Goldberg thinks the actress’ flu-like systems alone would not lead to her demise: “The fact that she had flu-like symptoms should not have put her at any great risk unless she was extremely dehydrated- although anorexia or bulimia could have put her at an increased risk of a cardiac arrest.”

Simon Monjack
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According the the leaked report, "no alcohol containers, paraphernalia or illegal drugs were discovered" and the night before she died, Murphy consumed seemingly routine things like "some noodles, leftover Thai food, Gatorade, water and tea with lemon."

While some prescriptions were in Murphy’s name, other bottles were prescribed to her husband Simon Monjack, her mother Sharon and other “unidentified third party names.”

“It does not seem like there was any criminality involved like in the Michael Jackson case,” Goldberg added.

“It is more likely to be like the Heath Ledger scenario where we had death from an accidental overdose.”

Ledger died from an accidental overdose of six drugs — painkillers and sedatives — the New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled in February, 2008, leading doctors to warn of the dangers of mixing prescription drugs.

"Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine," said the medical examiner's spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove at the time of Ledger’s death investigation.



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