FDA warns against using kratom for opioid addiction

FDA warns against using kratom for opioid addiction

FDA warns against using kratom for opioid addiction

Kratom, which has been consumed in Southeast Asia for centuries, binds to the same opioid receptor as morphine - so it can treat pain.

Advocates say kratom can ease pain and make it easier to get through opioid withdrawals. The FDA said the supplement, marketed as an alternative to painkillers and an opioid withdrawal tool, comes with "deadly risks".

In some cases reported to the FDA, kratom is laced with opioids like hydrocodone (Vicodin), Gottlieb noted.

"The FDA is concerned about harmful unapproved products that have been crossing our borders in increasing numbers", Gottlieb wrote in a statement. "The FDA is aware of reports of 36 deaths associated with the use of kratom-containing products".

But in a statement, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said there is no "reliable evidence" to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid-use disorder, and that there are no other FDA-approved uses of kratom.

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Meanwhile, a similarly troubling trend has been seen with kratom.

For now, kratom is widely available online and in some stores.

There have been 36 deaths associated with kratom in the United States, and the FDA says, hundreds of calls made to poison control centers.

In August 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) drew the ire of thousands when it announced plans to add kratom to its list of schedule I drugs. "The use of kratom is also associated with serious side effects like seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms".

"If they find people here who are opening the gates to these drugs, there may be opportunities for the FDA to investigate at a high level", former principal deputy FDA commissioner under the Obama administration, Joshua Sharfstein, told the news site. "Kratom is also banned in several states, specifically Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin and several others have pending legislation to ban it", Gottlieb stated.

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Gottlieb said that the drug should be studied before people take it for any reason. But for now, no company has tried to properly develop a drug that includes kratom.

"I want to be clear on one fact: there are now no FDA-approved therapeutic uses of kratom", Gottlieb wrote.

More than 340 million shipments of kratom reach the USA each year, even though the FDA has seized hundreds more. Until someone does the science the agency is requesting, the FDA will attempt to prevent shipments of kratom from entering the US.

Nevertheless, the drug has continued to pop up in supplements, prompting the FDA to issue a health alert in 2014 about kratom-containing dietary supplements and bulk dietary ingredients.

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