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Safety Information

Revised: 21 May 2013

Herbal Supplements Warning from Health Canada

Health Canada has issued the following warning in relation to seven herbal supplements manufactured in the USA by BotanicLab. It is not known whether these products have been imported into New Zealand.

Starts

2002-46
June 19, 2002
For immediate release

Health Canada is warning Canadians not to use seven herbal supplements: Arthrin, Osporo, Poena, Neutralis, Oa Plus, Ra Spes and Hepastat

OTTAWA - Health Canada is warning Canadians not to use seven herbal products manufactured in the United States by BotanicLab because they contain undeclared prescription drugs that could cause serious health effects if not taken under medical supervision.

The undeclared prescription drugs are:

Indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug with marked pain-killing and fever-fighting properties. Indomethacin is not to be used in patients with gastrointestinal problems and is known to interact with many other drugs. Combined use of indomethacin and ASA is also not recommended.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a nonsteroidal estrogen and is known to be a human carcinogen. Any undisclosed amount of DES in a product is hazardous. No amount is acceptable for consumption.

Alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug sold under various brand names in Canada. Alprazolam exacerbates the effects of alcohol and other sedating drugs and can be addictive.

The herbal products in which the undeclared prescription drugs are found are marketed as Traditional Chinese Medicines for different indications as shown below:

  1. Arthrin Capsules: contains undeclared indomethacin, DES, and alprazolam, marketed for "supporting joint movement".
  2. Osporo Capsules: contains undeclared indomethacin and DES, marketed for "a healthy skeletal system".
  3. Poena Capsules: contains undeclared indomethacin, marketed for "relaxing muscles; supporting tissues".
  4. Neutralis Capsules: contains undeclared indomethacin, marketed as "immune system formula".
  5. 5OA Plus Capsules: contains undeclared indomethacin and alprazolam, marketed for "soothing joints and tendons".
  6. RA Spes Capsules: contains undeclared indomethacin and alprazolam, marketed for "promoting flexibility and extension".
  7. Hepastat Capsules: contains undeclared indomethacin, marketed as "liver formula, detoxifying and protecting the liver".

The capsules are sold by mail, over the phone and on the Internet, as well as by various distributors and health care professionals.

Health Canada advises those who have taken these products to stop doing so and consult their health care practitioner.

Health Canada is working with importers to recall any remaining products in Canada.

Consumers are advised only to use drug products that carry an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN) on the label. The DIN indicates that Health Canada has assessed the product for safety, effectiveness and quality, and has authorized it for sale in Canada.

Media Inquiries:
Ryan Baker
Health Canada
(613) 941-8189

Public Inquiries:
(613) 957-2991

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