Lethal Adrenaline Rush

Adrenaline is our friend! It’s one of those hormones that floods our bodies when werun severely injure ourselves, feel afraid, or do strenuous exercise. It’s known as “the fight or flight hormone” (along with some help from norepinephrine and dopamine). And it’s interchangeably referred to as adrenaline or epinephrine.

But what happens when too much pours into our bloodstream? We DIE! And that makes for a very interesting method of murder and can become the basis of a dramatic murder scene in writing.

We’ve all experienced an adrenaline rush in some form or another. From whatever cause, when our adrenal glands pump adrenaline (epinephrine) into our bloodstream, we experience: 1) a noticeable increase in strength, 2) no feeling of pain, 3) heightened senses, 4) a sudden burst of energy, and 5) our breathing and heart rate increases.

Such symptoms of extra adrenaline in our bodies may be in response to extreme fear, a life-threatening trauma (either to ourselves or others), or as a result of competitive sports participation. It helps us think clearly, react rapidly and appropriately, and dulls pain when needed. This experience is known as an “adrenergic storm” and is the basis of the fight or flight reaction.

autoinjectorAdrenaline, as an epinephrine drug, also treats severe allergic reactions since the drug narrows blood vessels to raise falling blood pressure. It also opens airway passages that may be constricted with associated wheezing. There are auto-injectors available for people who may experience such allergic reactions.

The drug is readily available in an intramuscular auto-injector mechanism as an adult dose of 0.3mg (the 1:1000 strength). Since I have asthma, I carryepipen around an injector. I’ve not used it for an asthmatic episode, but I did use it once while experiencing a rather dramatic reaction to an antibiotic.

Recently, there has been much in the news about a certain drug manufacturer that dramatically increased the price of this live-saving drug from about $100US for a double pack to over $600US for that same pack. That tragedy is another whole blog in itself and I’ll leave that for another time since the backlash is still unfolding. For today, I’ll focus on this drug’s possible use as an intriguing murder weapon.

An overdose of adrenaline (epinephrine) flooding into our bodies can be LETHAL. At times, we’ve seen news reports of medical professionals mistakenly administering a wrong dose of epinephrine and killing the patient.

There are also reports of people using epinephrine as a weapon of murder! And the consequences of an epinephrine overdose can lead to complete cardiac arrest.

Initially, there’s a rapid onset of agitation, blood pressure spikes, the heart beats fast and irregular, slurred speech and confusion ensue, sometimes a severe headache is experienced—and then the person cascades into either a cerebral hemorrhage or cardiac arrhythmias prior to death.

Meds4_Pre-med3Treatments to prevent the fatal outcome include administration of benzodiazepines and beta-blocker drugs, but administration should be immediate since epinephrine acts rapidly, especially if it is given intravenously.

So, with a readily available source, rapid onset and a deadly outcome, adrenaline could easily transition from friend to foe and provide an interesting murder weapon. That should create a rather dramatic murder scene involving either your protagonist or antagonist.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, About Murder, Acute Poisons, Adrenaline Overdose, Adrenaline Rush, Adrenaline Used For Murder, Adrenoline and The Fight or Flight Response, All About Murder, Anaphylaxis, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Chemicals Used For Murder, Creating Emotional Drama in a Murder Scene, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, Designing Murder Plots, Developing Storyline Ideas, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Drugs For Murder Plots, Drugs Used For Murder, Epinephrine and The Fight or Flight Response, Epinephrine Overdose, Epinephrine Used for Murder, How to Choose a Murder Weapon for a Plot Idea, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Instruments of Death, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, Killing a Villain in a Novel, Killing Off Characters in Writing, Lethal Agents and Murder, Lethal Chemicals in Murder Mysteries, Misuse of Drugs, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, Murder Weapons Discussed, Murder With Drugs, New Blog, New Methods of Murder, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Prescription For Murder Blog, Psychoactive Designer Drugs, The Science of Murder, Tools of Murder, Unique Murder Plots, Unique Murder Weapons, Using Adrenaline in a Murder Scene, Using Epinephrine in a Murder Scene, Ways to Murder, Writing Death Scenes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Lethal Adrenaline Rush

  1. Thanks James. You mentioned several things about adrenalin that I didn’t know, and should know. Your post are always a source of valuable information.

  2. Thanks, James. I always appreciate your comments, and glad I could add to your vast knowledge of things, even that there are two correct ways to spell adrenaline (adrenalin) ~ All the best!

  3. Eric Hulliberger says:

    Sounds like a novel in the making for Robin Cook or Michael Crichton…I love medical thrillers

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