Seven herbal products produced by the US-based company BotanicLab have been added to the list of dangerous products by Health Canada, the organisation which ensures the safety of health products in the country.
BotanicLab is already facing problems over its PC-SPES products in the US, which were withdrawn after they were found to contain traces of the blood-thinning prescription drug wafarin. BotanicLab has always maintained that the substances detected by the US officials were naturally-occurring products similar to wafarin.
The seven products which Health Canada is warning Canadians not to use are Arthrin, Osporo, Poena, Neutralis, Oa Plus, Ra Spes and Hepastat, all of which are also said to contain undeclared prescription drugs.
These drugs are indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used as a pain killer and which is known to interact with other drugs, diethylstilbestrol (DES), a non-steroidal oestrogen which is known to be a human carcinogen, and alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug which exacerbates the effects of alcohol and other sedating drugs and can be addictive.
Health Canada said that Arthrin, a supplement marketed as aiding joint movement, contained undeclared indomethacin, DES, and alprazolam, while Osporo, a bone strengthening supplement, contained undeclared indomethacin and DES.
Poena, marketed as a means of relaxing muscles and supporting tissues, contains indomethacin, as does Neutralis, a supplement designed to boost the immune system.
OA Plus, which helps soothes joints and tendons, according to the marketing, contains undeclared indomethacin and alprazolam, as does RA Spes, which are meant to promote flexibility. Finally, the liver detoxifying supplements Hepastat were found to contain indomethacin.
Health Canada said that the supplements were sold throughout the country via mail, over the phone and through the Internet, as well as being distributed by health care professionals and other distribution outlets.
It advised anyone who had taken the products to stop doing so and consult their health care practitioner.