FDA says compounds in kratom are opioids

FDA-announced-herbal-supplement-kratom

FDA-announced-herbal-supplement-kratom

The Food and Drug Administration has announced that the popular herbal drug kratom has opioid properties and should not be used to treat addiction. In a statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD warned that kratom should not be used to treat medical conditions or be used as an alternative to prescription opioids. It is available at online portals and websites in the form of powder packaged within capsules or as tea.

In addition to being marketed as a concentration booster and workout enhancer in largely unregulated supplements, kratom has been advertised as a replacement for opioid painkillers.

The agency based the classification off of several scientific studies that suggested the drug interacted in the brain similarly to opioids and could lead to addiction or even death.

Those two uses are what Gottlieb appears to see as the most troubling.

Computer analysis predicted that 22 of the 25 most prevalent compounds in kratom bind to mu-opioid receptors, which have been linked to pain relief and a feeling of euphoria, Gottlieb said. All of those compounds, they discovered, shared structural similarities with opioids like derivatives of morphine.

He said kratom's chemical compounds are similar to opioids, CNN reports.

Almost all of kratom's major compounds bind to opioid receptors in the human brain, and two of the top five most prevalent compounds activate those receptors, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. For example, calls to poison centers regarding kratom increased tenfold between 2010 and 2015, rising from 26 to 263, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The FDA has submitted its review to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is considering whether to place kratom in the same category of illegal drugs as heroin and LSD.

But the FDA's concerns over kratom use have grown, with the agency pointing to 44 deaths associated with the plant.

But those deaths are not as simple as they may seem. That makes definitively labelling kratom as the cause of death impossible.

For getting rid of opioid addiction, some people use kratom supplement as home remedy, while others just use for fun.

"These reports underscore the serious and sometimes deadly risks of using kratom and the potential interactions associated with this drug", the FDA said. The agency was poised to take that step in the summer of 2016, but delayed a decision after a flood of public complaints, including a letter signed by 62 members of Congress and a protest at the White House by kratom supporters.

Kratom is banned in Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand and in several U.S. states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Although a number of deaths have been linked to use of kratom, it's unclear if the deaths are a direct result of using the drug, Marc Swogger, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center in NY, told Live Science in a 2016 interview. "And claiming that kratom is benign because it's "just a plant" is shortsighted and unsafe".

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