Background and Objectives: Insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents are drugs widely used in the world population due to their therapeutic effects on diabetes mellitus. Despite these benefits, they can also cause accidental or voluntary drug overdose. This review aims to evaluate post-mortem investigations in cases of suspected hypoglycemic drug overdose. Materials and Methods: We performed a comprehensive search using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review (PRISMA) standards; we systematically searched the PubMed, Science Direct Scopus, Google Scholar, and Excerpta Medica Database (EM-BASE) databases from the point of database inception until August 2022. The following inclusion criteria were used: (1) original research articles, (2) reviews and mini-reviews, (3) case reports/series, (4) and only papers written in English. Results: Thirty-three scientific papers, including original research articles, case reports, and case series, fulfilled the inclusion criteria. A total of 109 cases of insulin or hypoglycemic drug overdose were found. There were 71 cases of suicide (65%), 25 cases of accidental poisoning (23%), and 13 cases of homicide (12%). The most commonly used drug was insulin (95.4%). Autopsy and post-mortem examinations were performed in 84 cases, while toxicological investigations were performed in 79 cases. The most common gross findings in the autopsy were pulmonary edema (55.7%) and congestion (41.8%), while the most common histological finding was neuronal depletion or necrosis (29.1%). Conclusions: In the suspicion of death from insulin or overdose from oral hypoglycemic agents, autopsy findings may be nonspecific, and the search for injection marks can be positive at the external examination. Significant post-mortal alterations can interest biological samples and an early autopsy investigation is recommended.

Insulin and Oral Hypoglycemic Drug Overdose in Post-Mortem Investigations: A Literature Review

Visi, Giacomo;Spina, Federica;Turillazzi, Emanuela;Maiese, Aniello
2022-01-01

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents are drugs widely used in the world population due to their therapeutic effects on diabetes mellitus. Despite these benefits, they can also cause accidental or voluntary drug overdose. This review aims to evaluate post-mortem investigations in cases of suspected hypoglycemic drug overdose. Materials and Methods: We performed a comprehensive search using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review (PRISMA) standards; we systematically searched the PubMed, Science Direct Scopus, Google Scholar, and Excerpta Medica Database (EM-BASE) databases from the point of database inception until August 2022. The following inclusion criteria were used: (1) original research articles, (2) reviews and mini-reviews, (3) case reports/series, (4) and only papers written in English. Results: Thirty-three scientific papers, including original research articles, case reports, and case series, fulfilled the inclusion criteria. A total of 109 cases of insulin or hypoglycemic drug overdose were found. There were 71 cases of suicide (65%), 25 cases of accidental poisoning (23%), and 13 cases of homicide (12%). The most commonly used drug was insulin (95.4%). Autopsy and post-mortem examinations were performed in 84 cases, while toxicological investigations were performed in 79 cases. The most common gross findings in the autopsy were pulmonary edema (55.7%) and congestion (41.8%), while the most common histological finding was neuronal depletion or necrosis (29.1%). Conclusions: In the suspicion of death from insulin or overdose from oral hypoglycemic agents, autopsy findings may be nonspecific, and the search for injection marks can be positive at the external examination. Significant post-mortal alterations can interest biological samples and an early autopsy investigation is recommended.
2022
Manetti, Alice Chiara; Visi, Giacomo; Spina, Federica; De Matteis, Alessandra; Del Duca, Fabio; Turillazzi, Emanuela; Maiese, Aniello
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1157462
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