Health Canada is recalling a popular herbal sleep aid product after tests found it contains a substance similar to one used to treat insomnia.
U-Dream Lite and U-Dream Full Night were found to contain a compound that’s structurally similar to zopiclone, a pharmaceutical sedative. The substance can cause side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, memory loss, hallucinations and abnormal sleep behaviours such as sleep-driving.
Health Canada says it may pose “serious health risks.”
The recall impacts a number of U-Dream products, including “full-night formula,” “lite” and “half-night.”
U-Dream product licences have been suspended, meaning it is now illegal for these products to be sold in Canada.
“Health Canada tested these products after receiving complaints of unusual side effects — such as symptoms of withdrawal and dependence — suggesting that the products may contain a substance not listed on the product label,” a news release reads.
Health Canada is urging consumers who are taking the product or have done so recently to contact their doctor immediately.
“Stopping it suddenly may cause symptoms of withdrawal,” the agency said.
Consumers should also avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.
Health Canada issued the recall on Dec. 23.
One month earlier, on Nov. 21, Biotrade Canada, the Vancouver-based company behind the product, asked customers to stop using the U-Dream products “until further notice” after receiving concerns from Health Canada about an “unknown substance.”
On Dec. 17, Health Canada alerted Biotrade about the presence of zopiclone.
One day later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released its public statement about the discovery of zopiclone in the sleep aids, noting that the substance hasn’t been approved in the U.S.
While Biotrade says there are no confirmed illnesses related to the sleep aid product, a couple from British Columbia recently spoke with Global News about the drug, claiming it caused one of them to suffer a near-fatal heart attack.
A spokesperson told Global News at the time that the company is committed to finding out what happened and that zopiclone is not supposed to be in the herbal product.
— With files from Global News B.C.