How Steroid May Have Contributed To Chris Cornell Going ‘Manic’ Revealed


While the prescription drug Ativan has primarily been the focus of Vicky Cornell’s case that drugs played a role in her late husband Chris Cornell dying by suicide last May in Detroit, a new Detroit News article explores the role that a steroid called Prednnisone may have played.

A bottle of Prednisone, a steroid he was prescribed, was found in the Soundgarden singer’s hotel bathroom the night he died. According to the U.S. National Library of medicine, the drug’s side-effects include extreme changes in mood, confusion, depression and loss of contact with reality.

“But the medical examiner never tested for it,” said Vicky Cornell, who said her husband had Prednisone on hand for emergencies, in case he got laryngitis and was unable to sing. “When you find a drug that causes mania at the scene, how do you not test for it?”

Cyril Wecht, former medical examiner of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and chairman of the American Board of Legal Medicine board of trustees, said: “A good lab would have screened for that if the bottle was found at the scene.

“Every lab differs, and that drug doesn’t usually result in acute death by itself,” Wecht said. “But it can cause medical problems, and in a complete toxicology screen, you’d want to include that if they knew there was a bottle at the scene.”

Vicky Cornell believes a combination of factors led to her husband’s death.

“If you add it all up, he was on these prescription drugs that should have never been prescribed,” she said. “It caused a relapse…

“I think it was, unfortunately, the perfect storm, a combination of factors that made him go manic. Had the medical examiner looked at all these factors, maybe they wouldn’t have concluded it was a suicide in just an hour and a half.”

  • Nicola

    So they had the bottle. They could see the date it was filled and the strength per pill and calculate by the number of pills missing. That would be the max mg he could have concevivably had in his system, IF he had taken all the missing pills at once, which he most likely did not. I will say that high doses of pred can cause insomnia, which may have contributed to his need for ativan to sleep. The side effects Brett listed are those likely with a very high dose of pred, and even then rare. We do not know what dose CC took. If VK was so concerned about this issue, why the rush rush cremation. She certainly had the money for second, third, or fourth autopsies IF she had wanted them.

    • makingconnections

      I agree with everything you’ve said. It’s also very sad that one year later Chris’s memory for all of us can’t be of his amazing gifts as an artist and his being such a decent human being. Instead we are reminded of one year of discussions of his medication. Enough is enough; after all, one of his last communications was #nomorebullshit. That should count for something.

      • Nicola

        I think the only reason it is still a prime topic is because Vicky keeps with her agenda and puts out “articles” here and TV appearances saying he died from benzo drlirium, and that he was a relapsed addict. The narrative is ever evolving with her. The fans get tired of hearing her say he was a “relapsed addict”. All this plus the myriad inconsistencies and unanswered questions from the very inadequate police investigation, coupled with her and her mother’s totally inappropriate behaviour following his death has made people question everything. If this were not the case I believe thd focus would be on his life’s work, the music.

        • makingconnections

          Yes, it’s pretty amazing how convoluted and tragic a person’s life and death can become. I don’t like resenting people and try to feel the feeling and then let it go as an unhealthy way to live. She makes it very hard to let go with the constant ranting. I keep wondering what the police would have found on his phone. We all are haunted by different unanswered questions I suppose.

          • Kay B

            The phone would be interesting. I understand it wasn’t criminal to the law. And perhaps it wasn’t but he was clearly not happy with that phone call.

    • Olga Stewart

      And why wait five months to go to Detroit to get some of the slides from the lab?

    • Kay B

      I agree the depression/mood swings are rare with this drug. My worry is that he had it for “emergencies.” I explained above. This isn’t a drug you just keep around. Something isn’t right.

      • Nicola

        I do have a standing script for pred but I do have some unusual health issues and I guess my doctor trusts me to not use it indiscriminately or inappropriately. Generally I avoid it like the plague because even if you get relief you often rebound and end up worse once you taper off it. Plus it does have some bad side effects when I have taken high doses, but nothing like going and hanging myself.

        • Kay B

          I am not familiar with a standing script. Interesting. The rebound is an important point. That is why they took nasal inhalants off the market like Afrin.

      • Olga Stewart

        I think it was supposed to be used when he perhaps had issues with his voice (such as laryngitis).

        • Kay B

          He shouldn’t have been touring. Ugh.

          • Olga Stewart

            Yes, that is true.

            But can you imagine what the reaction from Vicky would have been if he had refused?

          • Nicola

            No he prob should have said no to the tour, but hey, somebody had to pay for all the Birkins and the $30K a month condo in Miami. It appears he was supporting VK family plus his own kids

    • HippieChic61

      Looking at the date and calculating the number of pills would be a great idea, but that doesn’t mean it is the maximum number he could have taken… He could have had half of the last script in the same bottle with the new.

      • Nicola

        True, but generally for most patients pred is prescribed as a tapering course of weeks, so there may not have been a previous bottle. I am not really clear on why it was ordered, his shoulder? His voice?

  • Olga Stewart

    Apparently the ME heard about this particular article. And he didn’t have nice things to say about Vicky.

    It’s one thing to attack Chris’s fans (which is bad enough. And also, it shouldn’t be happening).

    But to then get on the case of the ME?

    That is not only unwise but it could also get her hauled into court (especially if defamation of character comes into it).

    • Danielle

      I agree with everything that you’ve said Olga, Nicola and Making Connections. I’ve been on the fence about Vicky this past year but she really needs to shut up. It’s amazing how she didn’t question these things a year ago.

      • Olga Stewart

        Well she did say last year that she missed the signs.

        I wish that was all she had said.

        The same applies to her mother.

    • HippieChic61

      The M.E would have to suffer some type of harm from her statement to qualify for a defamation case. He hasnt.

  • Renée Lynn

    What a bunch of BS, how many stories is this wider gonna come up with. Nothing’s sticking hun, give it up.

  • BubbaClinton

    She drove him crazy……what a loss. RIP Chris.

  • Coco Nut

    But…it would still be ruled suicide. I’m sorry, but none of this really matters. I understand spreading awareness that addiction can lead to suicide, but what does she want from the medical examiner, exactly? He/she did their job and determined the cause and manner of death. This would be like Talinda Bennington demanding depression be listed as CB’s cause of death.

    • Kay B

      I agree. What does she want from the doc? Suicides by hanging are done with thought. The person wants to die. I hate to say it but it’s true. Like I said before if he jumped or shot himself I would look at this differently. I don’t think he should have been on Ativan at all. But he put thought into his suicide. I do think he relapsed years ago. I think he felt he was going down that road again and Vic knew it too. He couldn’t handle it again. But to ignore his depression all together is ignorant. And she has done that.

    • Olga Stewart

      No, it doesn’t matter.

      But Vicky can’t or won’t get it.

  • akemi

    The widow’s ongoing BS is just heartbreaking. Clearly, she’s looking to blame/sue/ collect on the tragedy that is Cornell’s death.
    Heartbreaking. I cannot listen to his beautiful voice without being moved to tears. Ya, that’s the way he has touched so many, so deeply. I don’t believe the widow has the capacity to understand who he was. It’s evidenced by the clueless things she says about him. Not fooling anyone. She is tone deaf.

    • Olga Stewart

      She is also both feelings and brain deaf (if that makes any sense).

  • ellie

    More damage control. If she had not cremated him so fast maybe we would know more. And that bandage on his head…who put it there, Chris couldn’t see to do that and where did he get that bandage?? Someone isn’t talking or knows more than what they are telling. The band isn’t even questioning seeing it or asking him if he was ok..they noticed it and ,noticed he was struggling singing. #Truthforchris

  • Kay B

    Why is he taking Prednisone when he needs it? That drug is for short term use. And the more you use it, the more the body gets use to the drug. It’s like an antibiotic. You end up becoming tolerate of a normal dose and it doesn’t work as well. I don’t understand why he had it for “emergencies.” This drug is taken 3 pills the first day and 2 then next and one the day after (doses do vary but you have a gradual taper off.) This drug can mess with your adrenal glands so he shouldn’t be taking it whenever. It can have adverse affects like depression and mood swings, but if it is taken correctly and only a few times a year that shouldn’t be a problem. Usually the biggest problem is being sensitive to sunlight…sunburn. From my experience with this drug it’s not for common or long term use. It seems strange to me. His adrenal glands help with the “fight or flight” syndrome as well. He decided to “flight” that night.

  • Bruno Sílvio Martins

    From what I’m seeing, it seems he was taking meds that should’ve never been near him at all. Prednisone is a serious mood altering drug. With all the Activan and other stuff, this really messes with one’s head. And if you’re already a severe depressed person, this is just the push one needs do end one’s life. I’m not saying that the drugs made him do it, but shit, it didn’t help at all.
    Why do docs prescribe without a thorough analisys of the patient. You can’t just prescribe every thing the patient wants.

    • Nicola

      To be fair, these drugs may in some cases be the lesser of the evils. Prednisone may have reduced inflammation, allowing him to continue to tour. Ativan may have qwelled his anxiety allowing him to tour vs being housebound (CC had acknowledged periods of being housebound).
      Obviously, I am not his doctor so just giving you hypothetical examples here.
      We don’t know exactly why they were prescribed. Billions of people worldwide take these 2 drugs without issue.