Michael Jackson’s body had lethal levels of Propofol

By | August 26, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Michael Jackson Coroner’s office investigators found lethal levels of the fast-acting, powerful anesthetic Propofol in Michael Jackson’s body, a search warrant unsealed Monday in Houston revealed.

The documents reportedly quote the Los Angeles County coroner’s office conclusion after Jackson’s autopsy, according to the Los Angeles Times, although L.A. County officials have put a security hold on the official autopsy results in the Michael Jackson case until police complete their investigation.

The warrant revealed that Jackson’s personal physician, cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray, told Los Angeles Police Department detectives that he had been treating Jackson for insomnia for six weeks and that he’d been giving the 50-year-old singer 50 milligrams of Propofol (also known as Diprivan) every night, using an IV. The doctor – who is reportedly at the center of a manslaughter investigation
by the L.A.P.D. – also told investigators that he was afraid Jackson was developing an addiction to the drug and that he was trying to wean him off of it.

In doing so, Murray said he lowered the dosage of the drug to 25 milligrams and mixed in two other sedatives, lorazepam (commonly known as Ativan) and midazolam (commonly known as Versed). Two days before Jackson’s death, on June 23, Murray said he administered those two medications and withheld the Propofol. And then, on the day Jackson died, he attempted to induce sleep without any Propofol, giving Jackson Valium at 1:30 a.m. and when that didn’t work, injecting him with lorazepam intravenously at 2 a.m. then with midazolam at 3 a.m. when Jackson was still awake.

When Jackson continued to struggle to get to sleep, according to the affidavit, Murray gave the singer various other drugs. At 10:40 a.m., after repeated demands, Murray gave Jackson 25 milligrams of Propofol.

Medical experts have told MTV News that Jackson, who reportedly had a history of addiction to a number of prescription medications, might have suffered from insomnia as a result of the side effects of those addictions and that an anesthetic might have been his method of choice for battling the chronic sleep disorder. Propofol is intended for use in a medical setting under the guidance of an anesthesiologist or other professional with knowledge of anesthesia. Because of the strength of the drug and its fast-acting nature, it is necessary to monitor the patient’s heart rate and breathing, as Propofol can suppress breathing to the point where a patient’s heart stops. Jackson died as a result of cardiac arrest.

According to the Times, despite Murray’s admission that he had administered Propofol to Jackson, they could not find any evidence that he purchased the drug under his medical license or Drug Enforcement Administration tracking number. When police arrived at Jackson’s home on June 25, they found eight bottles of Propofol along with other pills that had been prescribed to Jackson by Murray, the singer’s longtime plastic surgeon, Dr. Arnold Klein and another physician, Dr. Allan Metzger; in addition to raiding Murray’s Las Vegas and Houston offices and a storage facility and carting away documents and computers, police have also served search warrants on Metzger and Klein’s Los Angeles offices.

Among the drugs confiscated in the search of Jackson’s rented home were a variety of anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-insomnia medications and muscle relaxants: valium, tamsulosin, lorazepam, temazepam, clonazepam, trazodone and tizanidine, as well as Propofol found in Murray’s medical bag. Murray told investigators that he was not the first doctor to give Propofol to Jackson and that between March and April 2009 he called Las Vegas cosmetologist David Adams at Jackson’s request to arrange for Adams to use the drug to sedate the singer; police also subpoenaed records from Adams, according to the affidavit.

Murray said that once he began treating Jackson he repeatedly asked the pop star to reveal what other doctors were treating him and what drugs they were prescribing, but Jackson refused. He also told investigators that he noticed injection marks on the singer’s hands and feet and that when he inquired about them Jackson said he’d been given an unidentified “cocktail” to help him.

Related Content