A SOUTHAMPTON man who used alcohol and medicine to treat his arthritis pain took a fatal overdose, an inquest heard.

Dennis Howland was found dead by his brother at his home in Robert Cecil Avenue, Mansbridge, after taking a lethal mix of alcohol, morphine and painkiller fentanyl, Winchester Coroner's Court was told on Thursday.

The court heard how the 63-year-old was prescribed painkillers for his arthritis and two resulting hip replacements, suffering low mood and taking anti-depressants.

Doctors switched Mr Howland's morphine prescription to fentanyl patches in December 2013.

The inquest heard he medicated himself with alcohol and morphine prescribed for his late mother, who suffered from cancer.

On January 29, his brother, David, checked on him and found him "draped over the headboard" but assumed he was in a "drunken slumber," according to a statement by PC Theo Whitnall.

Mr Howland called an ambulance the next morning after finding his brother had not moved. Paramedics declared him dead on arrival.

Consultant histopathologist Dr Sanjay Jogai said the combination of alcohol, morphine and fatal levels of fentanyl killed Mr Howland. Bronchopneumonia and heart disease also contributed.

Dr Jogai said the "only explanation" for the fentanyl overdose was Mr Howland using more than one patch, but the coroner, Grahame Short, intervened to say the toxicology was "very complicated" and required expert explanation.

He ruled out suicide, recording a verdict of a drug and alcohol-related death.