Methadone is a medication valued for its effectiveness in the treatment of heroin addiction; however, many fatal poisonings associated with its use have been reported over the years. We have examined the association between CYP2B6 and mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene variations and apparent susceptibility to methadone poisoning. Genomic DNA was extracted from postmortem whole blood of 40 individuals whose deaths were attributed to methadone poisoning. The presence of CYP2B6*4,*9, and *6 alleles and the OPRM1 A118G variant was determined by SNP genotyping. CYP2B6*4, *9, and *6 alleles were found to be associated with higher postmortem methadone concentrations in blood (P <= 0.05). OPRM1 A118G was also associated with higher postmortem methadone concentrations in blood but not to a level of statistical significance (P=0.39). In these methadone-related deaths, OPRM1 118GA was associated with higher postmortem benzodiazepine concentrations (P=0.04), a finding not associated with morphine-related deaths. The risk of a methadone-related fatality during treatment may be evaluated in part by screening for CYP2B6*6 and A118G.
- INDUCED RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION
- HUMAN LIVER-MICROSOMES
- HUMAN CYTOCHROME-P450