Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) has warned the public against taking party pills, even though they are legal in New Zealand. This warning comes because Benzylpiperazine, or BZP, can trigger hypothermia, seizures, paranoia, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, palpitations and spasms of the muscle. Some of those side effects will occur if the person has taken 4.5 tablets.

Those who do take party pills should not mix them with medication, drugs or alcohol. Also those with mental illnesses are advised to steer clear of the pills.

Ross Boswell, chairman of the medical association, said: “There were growing concerns about the safety of BZP-based party pills,” and the legality of the pills is coming under fire. “If people insist on taking the pills, they should make sure they stick to the manufacturer’s recommended dose, of one or two pills, and not combine them with other stimulants.”

A study done at the Christchurch Hospital has shown that 61 patients had been to the emergency department a total of 80 times. Of those 80 times, 15 of them were toxic seizures and two patients presented life threatening conditions.

The pills are often sold as “herbal highs” but according to Boswell, there is nothing “herbal” about them as they were first made to treat cattle that had worms.

Boswell said: “Further research on the effects of BZP is soon to be released by the Health Minister,” as the New Zealand government is debating whether or not they should be banned or have their sale restricted.

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