June 29th, 2009
06:05 PM ET

Jackson's death raises questions about drug interactions

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/06/26/jackson.drug.interaction.caution/art.pills.gi.jpg
caption="Some drugs have serious side effects in combination with other medications. Check with your doctor."]

Elizabeth Landau

As friends of pop star Michael Jackson discuss the role prescription drugs may have played in his Thursday death, the serious health problems that can be triggered by drug interactions are again in the spotlight.

Dr. Deepak Chopra, who knew Jackson for more than 20 years, on Friday told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he blamed Jackson's death on drug abuse, though he offered no direct evidence. "When you have enough drugs in your system, your heart goes into an arrhythmia and your respiration stops," he said. "I think the drugs killed him."

Authorities said Friday the cause of Jackson's death will not be determined officially for weeks. The results of toxicology tests are expected in six to eight weeks, said Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care • Michael Jackson
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Jeffrey

    DRUG INTERACTIONS: Doctors are busy educated people. And, for the most part, do their job to the best of their ability. When I say job, I mean doctor's are business people as one of the many hats they wear as a health care providers. However, they are not perfect and neither are you nor I. I was at the doctor just yesterday and we spoke about my wife (my wife and I see the same physician). He couldn't remember a medication that my wife was taking at the present time. He also didn't know if it was time for refills on a specific medication that I am taking. Why didn't he? He didn't hadn't looked in our charts yet. Which he eventually did and we went along with our lives. The point: doctors are busy. You nor I could remember the specifics that I mentioned without consulting the notes from our last business encounter with our client. If, in your business, you deal with 100's of customers per month you can attest to the fact that one cannot remember every detail of every customer in every business transaction. Hence, files on clients, files on patients. Good doctors make detailed notes during visits then continue treatment based on those notes from prior visits. DRUG INTERACTIONS, would be included in the doctor, patient, pharmacist checks and balance of proper healthcare. However, "EVERYONE LIES", especially patients. Or they "leave out" facts. For example: "I have a couple of beers at night after work" or "I take St.John's Wort". All, having been left out of drug interaction management, are serious mistakes! My point here is that it is the patient's responcibility to manage their treatment along with their phisican. If you "leave out" any drug, interactions are a possibility. Be up front with your doctor. Even if it means you have to admit something that you don't want your phician to hear. Take control of your healthcare or you will be risking your life.

    June 30, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  2. Joanne Pacicca, Solvay, NY

    Self-medication certainly is a sign of deep psychological problems. Is this a surprise? And, why now lay this wide open for public opinion? A remarkable performer has died, can't we mourn his passing without all the tabloid mess?

    June 30, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  3. gail

    Prescription drugs. They've claimed so many lives, but we usually only hear about the high-profile cases. Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith. From now on, when a celebrity dies of natural causes, let's assume it was drugs- no autopsy (or in MJ's case, autopsies) needed. We need reform. If they can't manage to use meds responsibly, they don't get them. Like a child. What a price to pay. Shame on the Jackson family for wanting to put his body through more trauma. Joe created the monster. Michael had all that surgery to kill it. The second autopsy is just mutilation.

    June 30, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  4. kathleen miller

    i seat and look at his pictures i dont believe michael jackson kill self or use drugs michael was a good man i hope his mother gets his kids all kids need a mother or a grandmother my blessing and prayers are with mrs jackson and janet god be with them.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:55 am |
  5. Sue Gore

    Why in the world are you showing MIchael Jackson childrens face's all over the screen,Michael would roll over in his grave if he was buried! He spent his LIFE protecting the PRIVACY and IMAGES of those children the minute he is gone you exploit his most PRIZED POCESSION!!!! I don't understand there is people who would kidnap those children for ransom Please be more resposible about his beloved CHILDREN. SueGore

    June 30, 2009 at 5:32 am |
  6. msyolanda1939

    hi CNN,great job covering Micheal's story. i am very interested. i am 70 and have learned to dance from Micheal. i dance the moon walk and all the rest. i can still hear him singing,"where there is love I'll be there ".
    a comment about the legal drug peddlers. don't forget james dean,Marylin Monroe,Judy garland,Liza,and the list goes on. omg!!!!. they were all drugged to death. well i made it to 70 with out being loaded,and i can still dance all night long. rock and roll,from the disco, R&B and jitterbug days. i dance by myself,and thanks to Micheal for all the inspiration. you always danced by yourself . other people get in my way .rock and roll is free to create as you go. Micheal belongs to the universe,he is universal love. he couldn't help giving it all to us..Latoya in her pain said MJ was family to her,and an icon to us,well i don't think so. MJ means much more to the human family . he belongs to all of us,and we mourn him as much as we can. He is ours too ,not just one little family. but the big family of the world. his blood warms all our veins. sorry daddy Joe, Michael is here with us,and He knows,and sees how we all feel about him.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:28 am |
  7. Irene Allen Ft Wayne, In

    It is hard to believe that Michael Jackson abused prescription drugs. Dr. Murray shouldn't have continued to administered him narcotics. It's all about money!!!!!! the "loving" of money is the root to all evil. Remember, God know extually what happen and he has the final say.

    May God bring the Jackson family peace, comfort and love.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:59 am |
  8. Christine

    It's everyone's business what the family does when it involves innocent children. The Jackson's are hardly an exemplary family in child raising.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:37 am |
  9. Jeff

    To the person posting about Rush Limbaugh-Limbaugh DID NOT get his oxycontin and other pills via prescription, he got them all ILLEGALLY (he did get some initially legally but then the scripts ran out so he started buying them illegally). His maid got caught buying for him (never do a job yourself you can't send your servant to do) and his ass was cooked, but because he was a rich white guy he was allowed to go to rehab and get off with a slap on the wrist (this despite his hysterical calls on his show that all drug users get mandatory, stiff jail sentences).
    Frankly, looking at his performance a few months ago at that Republican event I think he's back on them.
    Michael Jackson on the other hand likely did need to be on some kind of medications but they were not monitored as they should have been, with the results we now see.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:02 am |
  10. Sheletta

    Aftering learning that Micheal's mother gain temporary Guidianship of his three children is great news, but that father of his is unbelieviable. He act's like he gaining more acknowledgement about his record company then being sad about his son's death. Joe Jackson is a snake and you can see that just by looking at him. I pray that Joe Jackson, has nothing to do with them beautiful children and ruden their life as he did his son. Just thinking about his quote earlier "the will be given a proper raising", as if their father was not doing a good job. The nerve of this man.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:02 am |
  11. aaron t

    I think that in the wake of michael's passing that the media should back off and give him and his family the privacy that michael demanded when he was with us. At least let them bury their love one instead of creating this circus around his name. His gave his talent his heart and his soul to the entire universe. Lets let him know how much we appreciated and loved him by honoring him with dignity and respect.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:01 am |
  12. T. Boone


    June 29, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  13. Dionigi

    Why hasn't the person who made the 911 phone call been identified? Does anyone know who he is? Initially it was reported that it only took 3 minutes for the ambulance to arrive now their saying 10-15 min? Wasn't the doctor hired by the promotion company handling the ticket sales for the upcoming Europe Tour? This is very very Bazaar, and I can't believe that Michael Jackson has left us so soon!
    May peace be with the Jackson Family!

    June 29, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  14. Stan

    Thank you Michael jackson, for giveing your life to the World and being a perfectionist in the Music World, You will always be in my Heart and my childrens hearts for ever.

    God Bless Your Soul With Love

    Mr. Stan Johnson

    June 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  15. Stan

    Thank you Doctor Chopa: It's almost a known fact, that Doctors in Hollywood, give the people in Hollywood anything they want in the form of drugs, because they can afford it!! I honestly believe that their are a few members that are using perscription drugs. Lets not tarnish Michael Jacksons career, he was raised by a abusive father in front of the cameria, he was the best that ever did Music in History.

    June 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  16. Susan

    I must agree with Bev in TX...I had a botched surgery in 2004. After over 4 years of living in agony, little sleep, and having my entire life, right down to wiping my butt, affected on a daily basis...I finally got some pain management in Jan. of this year. I'll never have my dominant arm back, & I couldn't even sue the SOB that did this to me, but pain meds have given me a little bit of my life back. I DO NOT abuse them. Folks who really need them don't. I too, worry that this whole thing will only make it more difficult for those in need, to get what they need, and none us are superstars, we're just folks.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  17. Nancy, Toronto

    I agree with Lisa idea's around the lawyer for the physician who was attending to Michael Jackson. One of the first things to do after establishing CPR is getting help...yelling if land line is unavailable. Alot of his lawyers reasoning does not add up to a health care provider.

    June 29, 2009 at 8:25 pm |
  18. Lampe

    Did anyone see The BET Awards last night? First off, Joe Jackson, was his same old rude self. The reporter was asking him questions, and he was giving short one or two word answers. Second. Why is it when an AA person who is very popular dies, the first thing out of AA's mouths is " He was one of us, he was a Black Man, as if people didn't already know that? you don't hear people say Farrah was one of us, she was a White Woman. Michael made his billions and billions of dollars, from White people as well as Black people,at a time like this, RACE,should not even come into play.

    June 29, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  19. Bev in TX

    Let me jump in here with a word of worry......I am one of those who must take pain medications, lots of them, just to manage more movement than lying in a bed. The reasons are multiple, most of them having to do with types of Arthritis.
    Now I'm hearing this great uproar on the news about the great dangers of over use of prescription painkillers, mainly opiod based such as oxycontin or other morpine type.
    In Texas, to get the medications I need I have to see a Psychopharmacologist every 3 months in addition to my Pain Management specialist. The Pain Management specialist writes the prescriptions for the pain killers because my Rheumatologist won't write one for anything stronger than Ibuprofen.
    As far as I know, this is the case in most if not all of the 50 states. If there is something else going on, it's called Illegal Drug activity and should be reported as such.
    Please do not over react and make it any more difficult for those of us who try to play by the rules. It is already next to impossible to get relief from pain that never ends.

    June 29, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  20. RoseParvin

    I have to agree with Deepak! I know & treated many drug users like Jackson and they live in constant tension stress and denial and many times they do what is forbidden for prescription drug users which is mixing some drugs with alcohol and that is what makes the heart stop and has killer affect immediately or during sleep they way I have heard and learned about it! No one died of drug abuse or any other reason during my practice and under my care! I fly people to the top of their destiny and then they meet rats and dogs and snakes and their lives fall into the danger pit!

    June 29, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  21. Barb

    Prescriptions for narcotics are kept on file by the pharmacy filling the script and the DEA. Red flags are raised when these kinds of scripts are filled too often in a certain time period; which is probably is how Rush Limbaugh got caught with his abuse of oxycontin. My question is where was the DEA in this case?? Yes, there are privacy laws to be followed(HIPPA), but someone in that agency probably knew there was a problem here, especially with the fact known that he was "shopping" for docs to write out new scripts. Very sad that something could not have been done sooner.

    June 29, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  22. Judi in Fla

    It is so sad to see Michaels father trying to profit off his sons tragedy. His father abused him as a child and continues to do so even after MJs death. Joe Jackson lacks the class to stay quiet at this time, in respect for his sons accomplishments and let Michaels spirit have some peace, finally.
    Joes press conference clips are on as I type this and the thought of Joe being anywhere near Michaels children in the future turns my stomach. I think I will be sick.
    I heard today that Joe Jackson does not live with his wife where the children will be. That was the best news I heard all day.
    Rest in peace Michael.

    June 29, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  23. Ed Hubble Somewhere in Ca.

    We can kill ourselves on the money drugs such as Statins,ED drugs,the newest of several pain medication being given free to our Doctors to prescribe to patients,and all others viewed on TV with numerous side effects.However don`t use medicinal herbs to help ill people such as the herb recommended in the BIBLE,because FDA don`t make money there it only takes $ away from that which they make legal. Wake up America it`s 2009 ! Medicinalman

    June 29, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  24. Lisa

    Wow, I am dumbfounded! I just watched the CNN interview by Suzonne Malvoe of Micheal Jackson's physician's lawyer. The
    Excellent and penetrating questions by Ms. Malvoe, clearly showed many flaws in the defense teams logic. They are going to have to do far better than that, when this goes to court. And based upon the answers, this will go to court.
    1. They would like us to believe that 911 was not called because a physician was already present and could do CPR. This is a fallesy. Any person who is found in cardiac or respiratory arrest would need transport to a hospital for further care and monitoring. I don't believe the physician had a telemetry monitor on hand. It doesn't even sound like he had the proper drugs to "run a code". A call to 911 immediately would have been the proper response, whether you are a doctor or a third grader.
    2. What is with the blatant lie about the phone system. First the lawyer said the physician did not call 911 because the phone system was down. Ok so he didn't have access to any phones? Then Suzonne asked, didn't he have a cell phone? The laywer responded "Of course". What a bunch of garbage they are telling us!

    June 29, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  25. Jordan

    Micheal Jackson has wonderful children and i hoping that his family his Mom and Mr.jackson and Janet jackso and the other family memeber get to have there closure for him and get the final report on what may have kill him i know it still a sad time but as a fan i belive he has done everything he need to do on earth and God has call him home

    June 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  26. Arnold

    Is there any recordings from his rehearsals for the London concerts?

    June 29, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  27. DawnMD

    This is all so tragic and sad.

    It seems fame can be a double-edged sword:

    Michael's life portrayed a man of two extremes; On one extreme he was the most outgoing in his music and on the other extreme he was the most withdrawn in his personal life.

    He seemed to be the most caring, talented person this could be the reason he allowed some people to hurt him.

    I wonder what his life would have been like had he not been forced into this industry.

    What a price to pay for success.

    June 29, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  28. adela palenzuela

    Thank you J. Patt!

    Poor late MJ, and poor children

    June 29, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  29. J. Patt

    After MJ's father beat him, and used him for a money machine, now he is going to be given the rights to his 3 children? Now he can beat them and use them. And now he is in charge of all the money MJ will be making in his death. Oh my gosh...I can't belileve all this. Michael clearly hated his Father...he made sure he didn't look like him at all. This is all so very scary...giviing the wicked, abusive father custody of MJ's children...and all his money. I hope the court assigns each of MJ's children their own separate attorney.

    June 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  30. Sabrina In Las Vegas

    Drug interactions, accidental overdoses, and just not eating enough are what most likely took Michael down.

    The nanny said that he didn't eat or drink enough and took too much mixed meds. Either too much meds or the affects of anorexia took him down...the body can't survive without enough fuel and his trademark is being wafer thin.

    He started working out in prep for the concert but had issues with walking just a few months before...I think his body said enough.

    I don't like Western medicine because they think they can solve it with a pill like a bandage and not solve the underlying problem.

    I think that with Heath Ledger it was a forgetting he took a dose of something and taking another too closely or missing two that the synergy of them caused the problem.

    June 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  31. Annie Kate

    Interesting about the St.John's Wort - I guess when the doctors ask you for a list of what all you are taking you need to include herbs that you take for a medicinal purpose as well. I have tried in the past to include the herbs but my doctors were not interested in those – maybe with the new spotlight on prescriptions, etc. they will become interested.

    June 29, 2009 at 6:18 pm |