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

 

Cricket: Dramatic Win Puts Black Caps In Finals

In Parliament: When Parliament resumed at 2pm the House passed a motion on a voice vote admiring the performance of the New Zealand cricket team in last night’s World Cup semi-final and wishing them well for the final on the weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Moon Shot/Kills Switch: The X Factor Judges Removed

MediaWorks has today decided that Natalia Kills and Willie Moon are no longer suitable to judge The X Factor and have removed them from the show. MediaWorks CEO, Mark Weldon, said that last night on The X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. More>>

ALSO:

Tessa Nichol: Up Up & Away In The Wairarapa

It’s an overcast morning in the Wairarapa but the mood on the ground in Carterton’s Carrington Park is anything but grey. More than 20 hot air balloons are getting ready to take off into the cloudy sky to mark the start of this year’s Wairarapa Balloon Festival. More>>

Golden Shears: Scotsman Wins Golden Shears Open Final

A Scottish shearer who settled in New Zealand to farm in Taranaki has become the first shearer from overseas to win the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship. More>>

ALSO:

Shipped On A Bottle: Young Change-Makers Take To The Sea On Plastic Bottle Kayaks

With the aim of harnessing innovative design to construct kayaks solely from recycled materials, the “waste positive” project Plastic Bottle Kayak brings adventure into Kiwi classrooms. The call is out now for classrooms to send in messages and artwork to be inserted into the bottles. More>>

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:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news