Deaths Associated With Brotizolam Poisoning From a Single Drug Overdose: Four Reported Cases

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2018 Mar;39(1):82-84. doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000358.


Brotizolam is a short-acting hypnotic in the benzodiazepine family, and fatal poisonings by an overdose of brotizolam are rare. This report describes 4 cases of deaths associated with brotizolam poisoning from a single drug overdose. The ages ranged from 51 to 90 years, and the postmortem interval between death and tissue sampling was 1.5 to 2.5 days. These deaths were classified as 1 homicide and 3 suicides. The concentration of the brotizolam ranged from 0.05 to 0.21 mg/L in the blood samples. Ethanol, which could cause mild alcohol intoxication, was detected in the blood samples from 2 cases. Postmortem examinations did not find any significant pathologic conditions, except for a case of death by drowning in a bathtub due to brotizolam poisoning. These 4 cases suggest that a brotizolam overdose should not be underestimated in terms of its fatal effects, particularly when situations involve alcohol intoxication, injury subsequent to the poisoning, or underlying medical conditions including aging.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Azepines / blood
  • Azepines / poisoning*
  • Drug Overdose*
  • Female
  • Homicide
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / blood
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / poisoning*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicide


  • Azepines
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • brotizolam