FDA Analysis Finds Evidence of Kratom's Opioid Properties

FDA Warns That Kratom May Be Similar To Opioids

Gottlieb added, "Kratom should not be used to treat medical conditions, nor should it be used as an alternative to prescription opioids". "There is no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use". The scientific data and adverse event reports have "clearly revealed" that compounds in kratom render it more unsafe than "just a plant", he said.

Still, concern about kratom is mounting, especially because some people appear to be using the supplement as a way to step down from opioid painkillers like heroin and morphine.

"We recognize the need and desire for alternative treatments for both the treatment of opioid addiction, as well as the treatment of chronic pain".

Concerns over kratom have been growing in recent years. That's because, in many of these cases, people died after they took kratom together other substances, such as alcohol or other opioids, according to reports of cases released by the FDA.

"As the scientific data and adverse event reports have clearly revealed, compounds in kratom make it so it isn't just a plant - it's an opioid", Gottlieb said.

The researchers also used a computer model to analyze the chemical structure of the compounds and figure out how they were likely to be processed in the body.

An investigation of the 25 most prevalent compounds in kratom showed that these compounds share structural similarities with controlled opioid analgesics, such as morphine derivatives. Those receptors also have been implicated in the addiction process.




In addition, the model predicted that some of these compounds may bind to receptors in the brain that may contribute to stress responses that impact cardiovascular and neurologic function. In November 2017, the FDA issued a public health advisory on the product to warn consumers about potential risks associated with its use. Result: kratom has a strong bind to mu-opioid receptors, comparable to scheduled opioid drugs. Federal agencies must move quickly to assess the abuse potential of newly identified designer street drugs for which limited or no pharmacological data are yet available.

There is an American Kratom Association, which has not yet been approved for 501c3 status.

In the FDA statement, Gottlieb said that "cases of mixing kratom, other opioids, and other types of medication is extremely troubling". At least one of the chemicals may also have some addictive properties.

"For individuals seeking treatment for opioid addiction who are being told that kratom can be an effective treatment, I urge you to seek help from a healthcare provider".

"Just because it binds, it doesn't mean it has the same efficacy" as an opioid, Hemby explained.

The FDA conducted a scientific analysis using a computational model developed by agency scientists, he said.

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