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LD-50 Information

General information

  1. LD-50 (Lethal Dose - 50) means the amount of drug it took to kill 50% of the subject group, usually mice or rats.
  2. Doubling the dosage does not necessarily make it 100%.
  3. mg/kg means that for each kg that you weigh,  you need that dose in mg;
    for example if it were 2mg/kg and you weighed 70kg you'd need 140 mg for the LD-50. (Americans: 1 kg = 2.2 lb)
  4. The LD-50 does not scale exactly, either from mice to humans or from 50% to 100%.   People vary. People take six times the "lethal dose" (not the LD-50, but a higher dose that in a treating physician's opinion usually causes death) of something and manage somehow to survive because bodies differ.
  5. Human-specific LD-50 data is not available because the FDA won't let drug companies take a pool of 1200 or so humans and feed them a drug until 600 are dead.
  6. Since, when trying to commit suicide, the focus is on being sure one dies rather than leaving a chance for survival, when reputable sources cite differing LD-50's, the higher LD-50 is generally supplied.
  7. There is vastly differing information from various sources on Tricyclic Antidepressants (such as amitriptyline, imipramine, nortriptyline, desipramine, doxepin, protriptyline, and trimipramine).   Printed sources give fairly high LD-50's, whereas some papers available on the web give much lower ones.

Generally, drugs are an extremely uncertain method of suicide because of differing drug action in different people.  The LD-50 can be regarded as a very bare minimum; that is, below that, sure, you -could- wind up dead, but there's a damn good chance you'll wake up some hours later strapped to a gurney in the psychiatric section of a hospital emergency department.


LD-50's mentioned in posts on a.s.h or associated lists / chats:

Name(s)

LD-50 (mg/kg)

Notes
Acetaminophen (paracetamol) 338 oral, 500 i.p. Generally takes about 2 weeks to die, usually in great pain from kidney and liver failure.  
Ambien (zolpidem tartrate) ? "Individuals have fully recovered from ODs up to 400 mg"
Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

4025

 
carisoprodol (Soma)

2340

 
chlorpromazine

225

 
Clozapine

260

anecdotal report of successful suicide showed 23.6 mg/L of clozapine in cardiac blood (Canadian Soc. of Forensic Science)
Codeine HCL

300 s.c.

 
Darvon (propoxyphene-d-HCL) 282 note that the propoxyphene is just one ingredient in darvon
Darvon-N (propoxyphene-d-napsylate monohydrate) 990 note that the propoxyphene is just one ingredient in darvon-n
desipramine 500 chloroquinine acts as an -antidote-!
Desyrel (trazodone)

610*

Alcohol, chloral hydrate, diazepam, amobarbital, chordiazepoxide,   meprobamate increase chances of death
Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (DXM; found in Robitussin DM)

?

Merck does not report an LD-50.  The DXM FAQ reports one suicidal success, but this could have been a simple allergic reaction.  A death was also reported on the newsgroup involving a cocktail including DXM, but given the number of different drugs involved it is difficult to tell if the DXM had any contributory effect.
Diethylpropion HCl (Tenuate)

20*

Persons who have regularly taken amphetamines have a much higher tolerance.  This drug is available through some online pharmacies.
Elavil (amitriptyline)

380

LD-50 on injection, as with many drugs, is lower by a factor of  ten . http://www.vh.org//Providers/Conferences/CPS/31.html reports an LD-50 of approx. 35 mg/kg, which correlates more  closely with the Merck i.p. LD-50 of 65 mg/kg.  The above webpage also says that patients have "survived ingetstions of 10g".
Fentanyl

11.2 i.v. / 62 s.c.

 
Hydrocodone (Bekadid, Dicodid)

8.57 s.c.

 
Iron (ferrous sulfate) 1520 causes death by painful internal bleeding, over a period of several days
Klonopin (clonazepam) >4000  
Lithonate / Camcolit / Candamide (lithium carbonate) 710 obtainable from some art supply stores - used to make ceramic glazes
Lopressor (metoprolol tartrate) 3090 higher doses spread out to less vital muscle rather than concentrating in cardiac tissue
LSD (Lysergide) i.v. in mice, 46;
i.v. in rabbits, 0.3
Lethal OD unlikely from psychoactives as one is likely to trip out before taking a lethal oral dose.  The possibility of dying from jumping off a building while tripping does exist. LSD is a serotonin antagonist.
Manerix 707*  
MDMA HCl (Ecstasy) 97 i.p. "although MDMA is more toxic than, say, the cactus-based psychedelic mescaline, it would take a big dose of e, something like 14 of today's purest pills ingested at once, to kill you." (Time Magazine, May 2000))
Meprobamate (Miltown) 800 i.p. "Death has been reported with ingestion of as little as 12 g meprobamate and survival with as much as 40 g" 
Methadone HCl 95 "Respiratory arrest, shock, and cardiac arrest have occurred."
Morphine Sulfate ? One asher successfully suicided with a friend, each taking 800 mg of Morphine i.v.
Norval / Tolvin (mianserin HCL) 390  
Oxycodone HCl

 

Roxicet tablets contain 5 mg oxycodone in each tablet
paroxetine

500

 
phenobarbital 176  
phentermine (Ionamin) 20* Persons who have regularly taken amphetamines have a much higher tolerance.
Restoril (temazepam) 1963* LD-50 >2400 in rabbits
ricin .001 takes two days or more to die from painful and massive internal hemorraging; more strictly restricted in the US than heroin; Click here for Cornell Univ. summary
Risperdal ?? "doses ranging from 20 to 300 mg involved no fatalities" 
Seconal (secobarbital sodium) 125 prescribing info from Lilly indicates a fatal blood level is between 15g/ml and 40g/ml.
Tofranil (impiramine HCL)

490

 
Tramadol 350  
Zoloft (sertraline HCL) ? as of late 1992, there were no reports of death from OD'ing on Zoloft alone, but there were four known deaths involving Zoloft and other drugs or alcohol.

Unless indicated with an asterisk, LD-50 cites are as indicated in the Merck Index, 11th edition, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Rahway, NJ, USA.

Desyrel information is from the prescribing information of Apothecon Corp.  The primary source for the Manerix information is unknown.   Restoril information is from the prescribing information of Sandoz Corp.   Risperdal information is from the prescribing information of Janssen Pharmaceutical.
Temazepam information was from an ash post which quoted the 1996 edition of Physicians GenRx, Denniston Publishing, Inc. 
Diethylpropion and Phentermine information are from the International Programme on Chemical Safety, www.inchem.org.
GenRx data is obtained from the US FDA.
The quote in the Meprobamate entry is from the prescribing information of Wallace Laboratories.
The quote in the Methadone entry is from the prescribing information of  Eli Lilly and Company.

All LD-50's above are oral unless otherwise indicated.  This is because it is usually extremely difficult to obtain a pure i.v. version of a drug.
i.v. = intravenous (injected into a vein); s.c. = subcutaneous (injected below the skin); i.p. = interperitoneal (injected into the peritoneum).

HCL = Hydrochloride


Poison Information Links

Detailed psychiatric drug information, including links to research studies, are available at a site called Internet Mental Health.

Links to Government/University Poison Information Sites:

Canadian poisonous plants information system Georgia Poison Center
Indiana Toxic Plants Indicies Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms of North Carolina
Toxicity of plants-Safety info-Wellness Center International Programme on Chemical Safety

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"The problem with researching methods via medical information is that medical information is intended to let you know what is the least amount of a drug or chemical that can cause harm. This is a far cry from our needs, which is to discover the amount that will definitely cause death."
-soontobedeadchick

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