Originally created 03/12/98

Consumers warned against Sleeping Buddha



WASHINGTON -- A dietary supplement known as Sleeping Buddha because it contains a prescription drug that can be dangerous to health is being recalled and should not be purchased or used by consumers, says the Food and Drug Administration said.

The FDA said Tuesday that Sleeping Buddha, sold as an herbal alternative to sleeping pills, actually contains a prescription-strength sedative called estazolam that can cause serious side effects in some patients.

Pregnant women are especially warned to avoid Sleeping Buddha because estazolam can damage unborn children, the FDA said.

Sleeping Buddha is marketed in capsule form as a product imported from China and is distributed by Treasure Box Products Inc. of Burnaby, B.C., Canada. It is promoted as a treatment for insomnia or restlessness, but it has not been reviewed or approved for such use by the FDA.

The FDA said that Treasure Box Products Inc. has started a voluntary recall of all of the Sleeping Buddha products distributed in the United States.