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.”