Intravenous prophylhexedrine (Benzedrex®) abuse and sudden death

Am J Med. 1979 Jul;67(1):15-20. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(79)90063-9.


Propylhexedrine was implicated in 15 deaths investigated by the Dallas County Medical Examiner since 1973. Twelve of the deaths were attributable to intravenous abuse of the contents of the Benzedrex® inhaler. Each death could be defined as sudden. Pulmonary edema, foreign body granulomas, fibrosis and evidence of pulmonary hypertension were frequent postmortem findings. Right ventricular hypertrophy was present in nine of the 12 subjects who died of intravenous propylhexedrine abuse. Two homicides and one suicide were propylhexedrine-related. Intravenous propylhexedrine abuse should be considered in the differential diagnosis of right ventricular hypertrophy and/or pulmonary hypertension, and it should be suspected in cases of sudden death involving young adults displaying evidence of intravenous drug abuse.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Propylamines / poisoning*
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*


  • Propylamines