The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory about the potential risks of kratom, an herbal supplement used to treat pain in place of opioids or to wean off opioids. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, “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.” Regulators know of 36 deaths tied to products containing kratom, and related calls to poison control centers increased 10-fold from 2010 to 2015.
Kratom is a plant from Southeast Asia that taps into some of the same brain pathways as opioids. Because the product is not regulated and is often bought online, it can sometimes be laced with other substances.
Source: STAT News, November 14, 2017.