Overdose and death with olanzapine: two case reports

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2000 Sep;21(3):249-51. doi: 10.1097/00000433-200009000-00013.


Olanzapine is an antipsychotic drug that has been on the market since 1996. Olanzapine-related deaths are very rare; the literature reports only one. However, in a recent 5-month period one medical examiner's office found two such cases that are reported in this paper. One is a suicide and the other is not. The toxicologic and anatomic findings for each are described. Blood olanzapine concentrations ranged from 0.237 microg/ml for one to 0.675 microg/ml for the other. Gastric content concentrations also exhibited a wide range, varying from 0.197 microg/ml to 17.400 microg/ml for the other. Distribution studies of the liver, kidney, and brain produced nondetectable concentrations for the drug. There were no consistent pathologic anatomic findings for cause of death except for moderate coronary atherosclerosis in the nonsuicide case. Both deaths were attributed to olanzapine toxicity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / poisoning*
  • Autopsy
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Coronary Disease / complications
  • Drug Overdose / pathology
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olanzapine
  • Pirenzepine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Pirenzepine / poisoning*
  • Schizophrenia, Paranoid / drug therapy*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Pirenzepine
  • Olanzapine