Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

FDA Warns of Herb Kratom's Opioid-Like Harms

FDA Warns of Herb Kratom's Opioid-Like Harms

Others use kratom for its euphoric effects, or to wean addicts off opioids such as prescription painkillers or heroin, also without medical say-so. "Before it can be legally marketed for therapeutic uses in the US, kratom's risks and benefits must be evaluated as part of the regulatory process for drugs that Congress has entrusted the FDA with".

A year ago the Drug Enforcement Administration planned to make kratom a Schedule I drug, a category that includes marijuana and LSD, but decided against it after an outcry of opposition. He said that calls to USA poison control centers involving kratom increased 10-fold between 2010 and 2015, and that the herb is associated with side effects including seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms.

"There have been reports of kratom being laced with other opioids like hydrocodone".

The FDA said that some of the adverse risks of opioids also appear with kratom use, including "abuse, addiction and in some cases, death".

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

Still, Jessica Bardoulas of the American Osteopathic Association said many "were dismayed to learn of the DEA's plan to classify the plan as a Schedule 1 substance. despite anecdotal and scientific evidence indicating kratom could be an effective opioid alternative".

Some people think kratom is safe because it comes from a plant - it's a relative of coffee - but many poisons come from plants, including opioids, cyanide and ricin. He said kratom products must go through the FDA's drug review process before they can be legally marketed for therapeutic uses in the United States. "From the outset, the FDA must use its authority to protect the public from addictive substances like kratom, both as part of our commitment to stemming the opioid epidemic and preventing another from taking hold". "Patients addicted to opioids are using kratom without dependable instructions for use and more importantly, without consultation with a licensed health care provider about the product's dangers, potential side effects or interactions with other drugs", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in the advisory. The agency has already detained hundreds of packages at worldwide mail facilities.

Kratom is banned in Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand and in several USA states - Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

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Gottlieb said he was sympathetic but said distributors have to show that kratom does work as advertised.

Gottlieb said that the drug should be studied before people take it for any reason.

"I understand that there's a lot of interest in the possibility for kratom to be used as a potential therapy for a range of disorders".

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