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


Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

    Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news