Health authorities have raised concerns after several patients in Queensland have become unknowingly dependent on Kamini – an Indian herbal aphrodisiac containing the opioids morphine and codeine.
In the Brisbane area, 12 patients came to the hospital with symptoms of opioid withdrawal, including difficulty sleeping, diarrhea, a runny nose, watery eyes, chills and chills, muscle aches, and persistent yawning.
Doctors realized that the common denominator was that all these patients took Kamini pills regularly but lost their main source of the drugs when the pandemic hit.
“The hypothesis is that the supply chain from India to these grocers has been disrupted,” said Dr. Jeremy Hayllar, Clinical Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at Queensland Health.
“So the price went up dramatically, and availability dropped markedly.
“So people got symptoms. They didn’t know why. They didn’t know where to go. They asked around, and someone came up with the idea to come to a service like ours.”
He added that because seven of the 12 patients were carpool drivers, the effects of the Kamini and the withdrawal symptoms posed a serious risk to the wider community.
Thanks to a regimen of buprenorphine (also known as Suboxone), all 12 patients could return to a healthy life.
‘It just doesn’t fit.’
Kamini is an Ayurvedic product commonly used as an aphrodisiac or stimulant, sometimes called “Indian Viagra.”
Kamini is available under the counter at many supermarkets. Photo: Delivered
“The patients we saw told us they were taking it because they were advised that it would give them more energy and allow them to work harder and longer,” Dr. Hayllar said to new gear.
“Another group of patients said it helped with anxiety.
“That’s really weird because, in general, opioids make you sleepy and lazy, so it just doesn’t fit.”
In addition to the 12 patients in southeastern Queensland, health authorities have also encountered sporadic cases of Kamini dependence in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Far North Queensland.
A widespread problem
Australian laws prohibit the import of Kamini, but it can usually evade detection when shipped with other legal goods.
Queensland health authorities say Kamini is available under the counter at “many” supermarkets in Brisbane.
A jar of 40 pills can go for $130, added Dr. Haylar to it.
A 2017 study by SBS also found that the drug was widely available throughout Australia.
“If you look at supermarkets in Melbourne, you will find many shops that practically don’t sell groceries but make their money purely from selling Kamini,” a supermarket owner told the broadcaster.
Meanwhile, the Therapeutic Goods Association found that many Australians could buy Kamini online.
“So that suggests that this is probably pretty widespread,” said Dr. Haylar.
“The supply chain disruption from COVID brought it to the surface, and now it may have buried itself again, and people have been able to carry on.”
Australia’s two leading Ayurvedic medicine organizations have not responded to requests for comment.