‘Friends’ Star Matthew Perry Died From Ketamine, Autopsy Finds
“Friends” star Matthew Perry died due to the effects of the anesthetic ketamine, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A recently concluded autopsy report of the actor who died on Oct. 28 revealed that the amount of ketamine detected in him caused “cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression.”
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The autopsy report also listed other contributing factors to Perry’s death, such as coronary artery disease and buprenorphine, an FDA-approved drug that is used to treat opioid use disorder. Drowning was also mentioned as a secondary factor, as the report added that he drowned in “the heated end of his pool.”
According to investigators, Perry was undergoing ketamine infusion therapy, a non-FDA-approved treatment used in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
His last treatment was about a week and half before his death, as reported by the Associated Press. Medical examiners, however, said that the timing of the last treatment is inconsistent with the levels of ketamine found in his body, as they were as high as the levels used in surgery for general anesthesia.
The report explained that the high level of ketamine could have caused a rise in his blood pressure and heart rate, dulling his impulse to breathe. This breathing problem would have been worsened by the buprenorphine found in his blood.
According to a review of the autopsy report by a Johns Hopkins Medicine medical toxicologist, Dr. Andrew Stolbach, the ketamine level detected in Perry was high enough “to make him lose consciousness and lose his posture and his ability to keep himself above the water.”
Perry had struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction in the past. However, he was reportedly clean for over a year and half before his death at his Los Angeles home last month. He had been found unresponsive in the pool by his assistant, who said he had not been sick or made any complaints regarding his health.
The assistant also told investigators that the actor had not shown any signs of recent drug or alcohol use. “Friends” co-star Jennifer Aniston also vouched for his sober state in a recent interview for Variety, in which she added that he had been in a better place at the time of his death.
“He was happy,” she said. “He was healthy. He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy — that’s all I know. I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling. He was happy.”
“I want people to know he was really healthy, and getting healthy. He was on a pursuit. He worked so hard. He really was dealt a tough one,” she added.