The death of a London paramedic has been ruled accidental after she ingested a fatal dose of pills purchased from a foreign online pharmacy.

Lorna Lambden, 27, a paramedic and Masters Degree student at the University of Hertfordshire, was found dead in her home on December 17, 2010, after ingesting pills purchased over the internet without a prescription, reports the Daily Mail.

The coroner, Edward Thomas, found a fatal level of the drug amitriptyline in her blood. Thomas added that the medication had not been prescribed to Lambden, but suspected she purchased an equivalent called “amitrip” from a foreign internet-based pharmacy.

Said Thomas, “…four milligrams [worth of amitriptyline were] found in her blood, and a therapeutic level is about one milligram.” He went on to say that after taking the drug she collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia, reports the St. Albans Review.

Lambden’s family knew that she had trouble sleeping and suspect she purchased the medication to rest between twelve hour shifts with the London Ambulance Service, reports the London Metro.

Lambden’s mother, a retired accident and emergency sister, said: “It’s terrible that these drugs are so freely available online and people can buy them without seeing any warnings about the harm they can do.”

Coroner Thomas said: “Amitriptyline can stop the heart and I think that is likely here. Lorna would not have known it had happened. It would not have been like a heart attack.”

Lorna-lambden

Image from the Lorna Lambden Memorial Facebook page.

The death of a London paramedic has been ruled accidental after she ingested a fatal dose of pills purchased from a foreign online pharmacy.

Lorna Lambden, 27, a paramedic and Masters Degree student at the University of Hertfordshire, was found dead in her home on December 17, 2010, after ingesting pills purchased over the internet without a prescription, reports the Daily Mail.

The coroner, Edward Thomas, found a fatal level of the drug amitriptyline in her blood. Thomas added that the medication had not been prescribed to Lambden, but suspected she purchased an equivalent called “amitrip” from a foreign internet-based pharmacy.

Said Thomas, “…four milligrams [worth of amitriptyline were] found in her blood, and a therapeutic level is about one milligram.” He went on to say that after taking the drug she collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia, reports the St. Albans Review.

Lambden’s family knew that she had trouble sleeping and suspect she purchased the medication to rest between twelve hour shifts with the London Ambulance Service, reports the London Metro.

Lambden’s mother, a retired accident and emergency sister, said: “It’s terrible that these drugs are so freely available online and people can buy them without seeing any warnings about the harm they can do.”

Coroner Thomas said: “Amitriptyline can stop the heart and I think that is likely here. Lorna would not have known it had happened. It would not have been like a heart attack.”

The medication is an anti-depressant, sometimes used in small doses off label as a sleep aid, because a common side effect is drowsiness. However, the medication has been recognized by the British National Formulary for its severe danger in overdoses and doesn’t recommend its use. In addition, the medication is known to interact with alcohol to cause overdose. The National Institute of Health says that “signs and symptoms of toxicity develop rapidly after overdose; therefore hospital monitoring is required as soon as possible.”

Lambden had been discovered in her apartment with an empty wine glass and a movie playing after she had been dead for 48 hours, reports the Daily Mail.

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee, said: “You should always get your drugs on prescription and go to a pharmacist, who will tell you about the side effects and correct dose.”

By S. Imber