News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Warning issued after synthetic drugs cause kidney injuries

MEDIA RELEASE


April 15, 2013

Warning issued after synthetic drugs cause kidney injuries

Public health officials are warning of the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids following three young adults suffering severe acute kidney injury this month after smoking the drugs.

Two of the three patients required treatment in Intensive Care Units. Similar cases have recently been reported overseas, some requiring dialysis.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says clinicians have growing concerns about the easy accessibility and safety of these drugs as well as the long term effects they could have on people’s physical and mental health.

“There is a potential for severe and permanent toxic injury with smoked or ingested synthetic cannabinoid drugs,” he says.

“I’m told that calls to the National Poisons Centre and attendances to Emergency Departments by patients suffering adverse effects from these drugs are increasing all the time.

“Ingredients are not disclosed by manufacturers and as far as we are aware these drugs have not had proper safety testing.”

Dr Humphrey says while synthetic cannabinoids, such as K2, are not allowed in smoke free areas, they are otherwise not subject to any food or drug regulation.

“Adverse side-effects have included anxiety, vomiting, chest pain and headache. As well as the recent cases of kidney failure other severe side-effects include seizures, psychosis and heart attack.”

Patients typically range from 16 to 22 years, and many are teens. Patients as young as 13 years old have reported that they are regular users.

“As yet no specific brand has been implicated in the cases of serious toxicity; doctors treating unwell patients that have used synthetic cannabinoids should consider testing for kidney injury and cardiac complications.”

Dr Humphrey says these drugs may also cause psychosis in patients with or without previous psychiatric diagnoses.

“Emergency doctors and toxicologists recommend avoiding synthetic cannabinoids until they have been tested and the health risks are fully understood. Clinicians will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health to protect the safety of the public,” Dr Humphrey says.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

TV3 Video: Auckland Arts Festival Kicks Off

The Auckland Arts Festival kicks off March 4, with artists from New Zealand and all over the world on show. More>>

ALSO:

Te Matatini: Minister Applauds National Kapa Haka Festival

Education Minister Hekia Parata wishes the best of luck to everyone involved in this week’s national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, in Christchurch. “Te Matatini showcases the very best of Māori performing arts talent. It’s a celebration of identity, language and culture at the highest level and I’m looking forward to being amongst it,” says Ms Parata. More>>

ALSO:

Kiwi Pride: Accolades For Film About Man Who Falls In Love With A Stick

A short animated film written and directed by New Zealand born Matthew Darragh has been selected for the Courts des îles, International Festival of Short Fiction Films. More>>

ALSO:

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news