Suicide by gabapentin overdose

J Forensic Sci. 2011 Sep;56(5):1373-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01798.x. Epub 2011 May 6.


Gabapentin is an antiepileptic drug that is prescribed for both FDA-approved and multiple off-label conditions, and has a relatively safe side-effect profile. Rare cases of overdose-related adverse effects have been reported in the literature. Described herein are the circumstances and autopsy findings of a 62-year-old woman with a history of depression, whose death was caused by intentional ingestion of excess gabapentin. The postmortem peripheral blood gabapentin concentration as determined by high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectroscopy was 88 μg/mL. Previously reported cases of individuals surviving gabapentin overdoses are discussed and compared with this case. Based on a review of the available literature, this appears to be the first published report of a death due solely to gabapentin toxicity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Amines / blood
  • Amines / poisoning*
  • Anticonvulsants / blood
  • Anticonvulsants / poisoning*
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids / blood
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids / poisoning*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Drug Overdose
  • Female
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Gabapentin
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicide*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / blood
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / poisoning*


  • Amines
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Gabapentin