Actor Matthew Perry died from ‘acute effects of ketamine: Autopsy report

Time Of Info By TOI Desk Report   December 16, 2023   Update on : December 16, 2023

Matthew Perry
Photo: Screengrab

Matthew Perry, the beloved “Friends” sitcom star, died from the “acute effects” of the powerful sedative ketamine, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner said in the autopsy report on Friday.

The ketamine, combined with other factors, caused the actor to lose consciousness and drown in his hot tub, the autopsy report said.

Ketamine is a short-acting anesthetic with hallucinogenic properties.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner released the report more than a month after the actor died at his Los Angeles home on October 28, reported Reuters and CBC News.

Perry, 54, who publicly acknowledged decades of drug and alcohol abuse, was found unresponsive after he drowned in his pool in his home, the examiner said.

The report said toxicology tests found ketamine in Perry’s body at high levels well within the range typically associated with general anesthesia used in monitored surgical care.

It is determined that the acute effects of ketamine caused “Matthew Perry’s death, the autopsy concluded.

Coronary artery disease was also detected in his system, and drowning was listed as a contributing factor in his death.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Ketamine is referred to as a “dissociative anesthetic hallucinogen” as it produces a feeling of detachment from pain, anxiety, and the environment.

Perry may have been self-medicating with ketamine between medically supervised treatments with the drug, autopsy findings suggested.

Citing witness interviews, the report said Perry had been undergoing ketamine infusion therapy for depression and anxiety, but his last treatment was a week and a half before his death.

Perry’s death came one year after the publication of his memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

Perry had been sober for 19 months with no known substance abuse relapses before his death, interviews cited in the autopsy.

The actor was best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the 1990s hit television sitcom “Friends”.

Investigators said they did not find any alcohol, illicit drugs or paraphernalia at scene of his death, but they found multiple nicotine vaping products and an inhaler in his living room.

Anti-diabetes medication and nicotine lollipops were found in the refrigerator.

The report said the physician prescribed him Tamoxifen – a hormone regulator usually taken for breast cancer prevention – for weight loss.

The actor had stopped smoking two weeks earlier before the death, and was receiving testosterone shots, the report added.

The medical examiners detected non-toxic levels of some prescription medications in Perry’s body, but no traces of alcohol, cocaine, heroin or other illegal narcotics.

As was widely reported since, Perry had played pickleball hours before his death, and a witness told investigators he seemed to be in “good spirits”, the report said.


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