Home > FDA, USA > FDA-Approved Anxiety Drug Killed Chris Cornell

FDA-Approved Anxiety Drug Killed Chris Cornell

FDA-approved anxiety medication responsible for Chris Cornell's death

According to Chris Cornell’s wife, the former Soundgarden vocalist died directly as a result of taking an FDA-approved anxiety drug. 

Police confirmed this week that Chris Cornell died by hanging himself in his MGM Grand Detroit hotel room shortly after performing at a concert at the nearby Fox Theater.

His death came as a shock to everybody who knew him. According to close friends and family, Cornell was a man worshipped by his fans, loved by his family, and who appeared to be very content and happy with his life. However, unbeknown to many, Cornell was taking the drug Ativan – a psychoactive pharmaceutical drug in the Benzodiazepines class.

Benzodiazepines, sometimes called “benzos,” are commonly prescribed to people suffering from anxiety. Common side effects of the drug, include;

Hallucinations, insomnia, psychosis, excitability, irritability, aggressive behavior, agitation, hostility, anxiety, vivid dreams, hyperactivity, organic disinhibition, depersonalization, apathy, excitement, feeling mad, illusion, nightmares, sleep disorders, and suicide ideation

When Chris spoke to his wife before the show, she explained that her husband sounded normal and was making plans for their upcoming vacation. He did not sound like a man contemplating suicide:

“His world revolved around his family first and, of course, his music second. He flew home for Mother’s Day to spend time with our family. He flew out mid-day Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children. When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do.”

However, when they spoke after the show, hours before he hung himself, Vicky notes, his personality completely changed after he took an Ativan.

“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him,” she continued. “What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”

Rollingstone.com reports: An attorney for the Cornell family, Kirk Pasich, reiterated Vicky’s belief that an extra dosage of Ativan, an anxiety medication often employed by recovering addicts, altered Chris Cornell’s mental faculties after the Detroit show. Pasich added that the Cornell family is “disturbed at inferences that Chris knowingly and intentionally took his life.”

“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise,” Pasich said. “Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions.”

Pasich added that side effects of Ativan include “paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment”; Vicky Cornell noted her husband’s slurred speech following the Detroit concert in her statement.

She added, “The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know. Thank you for that, and for understanding how difficult this is for us.”

Hours after Cornell’s death at a Detroit hotel, a medical examiner’s report confirmed that the singer had died by suicide.

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