FDA says compounds in kratom are opioids

FDA says compounds in kratom are opioids

FDA says compounds in kratom are opioids

The Food and Drug Administration released a report on February 6 warning people against using the herbal pain reliever kratom, saying it could pose the same addictive qualities as morphine.

In a statement released on November 14., 2017, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said "kratom has raised significant concerns given its increasing prevalence and potential safety risks".

The agency's conclusion is based on recent computational modelling and on scientific literature and reports of adverse effects in people, he said.

The substance, which is imported from Southeast Asia and marketed as a supplement, has become increasingly popular among consumers looking for relief from pain, anxiety and depression as well as opioid-withdrawal symptoms. But other researchers warn that the herb, taken in capsules or by drinking tea, is too risky to use.

US health authorities say an herbal supplement promoted as an alternative pain remedy contains the same chemicals found in opioids, the addictive family of drugs at the centre of a national addiction crisis.

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Along with its latest statement on kratom, the FDA released details of the case reports in which kratom was implicated in 44 deaths.

In many of those cases, kratom was used along with other drugs, making it hard for authorities to determine the actual cause of death.

The FDA said Tuesday that claiming kratom is benign because its "just a plant" is "shortsighted and risky", as heroin comes from plants as well.

The new FDA analysis comes as the Drug Enforcement Administration considers whether to classify kratom as a controlled substance. Across the United States, several reports of deaths and addiction led the Drug Enforcement Administration to place kratom on its list of "drugs and chemicals of concern". But officials backtracked after a public outcry and pressure from some members of Congress.

There is no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use.

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The FDA provided that evaluation late previous year.

The FDA has submitted its review to the DEA, which has not yet said whether it will escalate kratom's listing from "drug of concern" to a Schedule I substance.

FDA scientists analyzed the 25 most common chemical compounds in kratom and concluded that they behave like those found in opioids including morphine.

Additionally, the researchers found that 22 of the 25 compounds in kratom bind to mu-opioid receptors, and that some of the compounds may bind to receptors in the brain that may contribute to stress responses that impact neurologic and cardiovascular function. "The use of kratom is also associated with serious side effects like seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms". In other cases, kratom was used in combination with other drugs that affect the brain, including illicit drugs, prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, and over-the-counter medications.

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