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Matthew Perry died from the effects of ketamine, autopsy report says

by Sophia Chen
8 comments
Matthew Perry autopsy

Matthew Perry’s demise has been attributed to the acute effects of the anesthetic ketamine, as disclosed in the findings of a recently released autopsy report on the 54-year-old actor renowned for his role in the popular television series “Friends.” The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner, in its autopsy report, also noted that Perry had drowned in the heated section of his pool, though this was considered a secondary factor in his tragic death, ruled as accidental, occurring on October 28.

Close associates of Perry informed investigators that he was undergoing ketamine infusion therapy, an experimental treatment for depression and anxiety. However, the autopsy findings revealed that the levels of ketamine in Perry’s system were consistent with those administered for general anesthesia during surgery, which was not in line with his last treatment 1 1/2 weeks prior. Typically, the drug is metabolized within a matter of hours.

The autopsy report cited coronary artery disease and buprenorphine, used to treat opioid use disorder, as contributing factors to Perry’s demise. Dr. Andrew Stolbach, a medical toxicologist from Johns Hopkins Medicine who reviewed the report, highlighted that the amount of ketamine detected would have caused loss of consciousness and impaired his ability to stay afloat in the water, especially when combined with sedative drugs.

Perry, who had been declared dead after being found unresponsive at his Pacific Palisades residence, had reportedly been clean from substance abuse for 19 months. He had been engaged in physical activity, playing pickleball earlier in the day, before the tragic incident occurred.

The postmortem blood tests revealed elevated levels of ketamine in his system, which could have impacted his blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing reflexes. The presence of buprenorphine, a central nervous system depressant, in conjunction with high ketamine levels, exacerbated the respiratory effects, according to the autopsy.

Furthermore, Perry’s pre-existing coronary artery disease heightened his vulnerability to the combined effects of these substances.

Matthew Perry, renowned for his portrayal of Chandler Bing in “Friends,” was a beloved figure in the world of entertainment. His sudden demise came as a shock to his castmates, friends, family, and fans. Perry had been candid about his struggles with addiction, as reflected in his 2022 memoir.

The autopsy report also mentioned a woman, whose name was redacted, who indicated that Perry had been in good spirits a few days prior to his passing. She mentioned that he had been receiving ketamine infusions for mental health reasons, with his doctor reducing the frequency of treatments as he had been feeling well.

Ketamine, originally approved as an anesthetic for surgical use, has emerged in recent years as an experimental treatment for various psychiatric and challenging conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. While not officially sanctioned for these purposes, many medical practitioners prescribe it when they believe it could benefit their patients, leading to the availability of ketamine infusions in numerous clinics across the United States.

Carla K. Johnson, Matthew Perrone, and Ryan J. Foley contributed reporting to this article from various locations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Matthew Perry autopsy

What were the primary causes of Matthew Perry’s death according to the autopsy report?

Matthew Perry’s death was primarily attributed to the acute effects of the anesthetic ketamine, as indicated in the autopsy report.

Was drowning a significant factor in Matthew Perry’s death?

Drowning was mentioned in the autopsy report as a secondary factor in Matthew Perry’s death. It was noted that he drowned in the heated section of his pool, but it was not the primary cause of his demise.

What was the context of Matthew Perry’s ketamine infusion therapy?

Matthew Perry was undergoing ketamine infusion therapy, an experimental treatment for depression and anxiety, as per information provided by close associates. However, the autopsy report raised questions about the levels of ketamine found in his system.

Did Matthew Perry have a history of substance abuse?

While Matthew Perry had struggled with addiction in the past, the autopsy report mentioned that he had been reportedly clean for 19 months before his passing.

How did Perry’s coronary artery disease contribute to his death?

The autopsy report stated that Perry’s coronary artery disease would have made him more susceptible to the effects of the drugs found in his system, further complicating the circumstances of his death.

What role did buprenorphine play in Matthew Perry’s death?

Buprenorphine, used to treat opioid use disorder, was also detected in Perry’s blood. The autopsy suggested that its presence, in combination with ketamine, could have contributed to his respiratory issues, posing a risk due to their additive effects.

What were Matthew Perry’s recent activities before his death?

According to the autopsy report, Perry had played pickleball earlier in the day before being found unresponsive in his pool. His assistant, who lived with him, discovered him in that condition upon returning from errands.

How has ketamine been used in recent years, aside from surgical purposes?

Ketamine has emerged as an experimental treatment for psychiatric and challenging conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, although it is not officially approved for these uses.

What information did a woman provide about Matthew Perry’s state of mind and health?

A woman, whose name was redacted in the autopsy report, mentioned that Perry had been in good spirits a few days before his passing. She also noted that he had been receiving ketamine infusions for his mental health, with his doctor adjusting the treatment frequency as he had been feeling well.

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8 comments

InfoGeek44 December 16, 2023 - 12:14 pm

hmm, never knew katamine cud be used for depression. intresting read.

Reply
BookWorm22 December 16, 2023 - 12:53 pm

Didnt kno he rote a memoir. gonna check it out!

Reply
CuriousCat December 16, 2023 - 9:55 pm

So, like, he used to be on frnds, but struggled with addiction? whoa.

Reply
HealthNut77 December 17, 2023 - 12:53 am

buprenorphine mixed with katamine, bad combo. Respiratory problems galore!

Reply
SadFace4ever December 17, 2023 - 1:37 am

this story’s got me feeling down. too young to go like that.

Reply
NewsJunkie99 December 17, 2023 - 2:31 am

ketamine for more than surgery? Need to learn more about this.

Reply
TrueFan86 December 17, 2023 - 5:33 am

srsly? chandler bing died, man! big loss for frnds fam. RIP.

Reply
Reader123 December 17, 2023 - 6:42 am

wow, this sooo sad! matt perry death, ketamine..drowning..? awful.

Reply

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