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


Warning issued after synthetic drugs cause kidney injuries


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.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Leonardo da Vinci - The Graphic Work

The breadth of da Vinci’s work is incredible: from animals to weaponry, architecture to fabric, maps to botany. The works have been divided into themes such as Proportion Drawings, Anatomical Drawings and Drawings of Maps and Plans. Each section begins with a short essay. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: James Hector: Explorer, Scientist, Leader

Publication of this comprehensive 274-page account of the life and work of James Hector by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand marks the 150th anniversary of James Hector’s appointment as New Zealand’s first government scientist. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news