Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has issued a warning against the use of kratom as an herbal supplement. In a statement released on Feb. 6, 2018, Gottlieb indicated that the opioid properties in kratom compounds can cause serious health consequences, including addiction and even death.
After declaring kratom to be an opioid, the FDA denied any reliable evidence that could support the medicinal use of kratom to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) or chronic pain. The agency conducted an in-house research to analyze the chemical composition of 25 major constituents of kratom. “Based on the scientific information in the literature and further supported by our computational modeling and the reports of its adverse effects in humans, we feel confident in calling compounds found in kratom, opioids,” said Gottlieb.
Researches have predicted that 22 of the 25 compounds in kratom could trigger stress responses in the brain, thereby adversely affecting neurologic and cardiovascular function. It is noteworthy that the FDA had previously warned kratom users of the serious side effects such as seizures and respiratory depression.
Kratom is a plant native to Malaysia, traditionally used to make an herbal medicine to treat pain and addiction to heroin or morphine. The American Kratom Association reported that 3 million to 5 million Americans use kratom-based products. Loosely regulated by the FDA, kratom-based supplements are available at head shops and gas stations as pills, powder, capsules or even energy drinks.
Fatal implications of kratom use
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poison control centers in America witnessed a 10-fold rise in calls involving kratom over a five-year period, from 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015. In addition, the FDA, in its Adverse Event Reporting System, referred to 36 deaths involving kratom to strengthen its case against the potentially dangerous herb.
In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) expressed its intent to temporarily put kratom in the category of Schedule I drugs like heroin or LSD. However, they had to shelve their plan amid resistance from the public as well as some Congress members. Though the DEA did not take any action then, the anti-drug agency continued to view it as a drug of concern. The DEA had requested the FDA for a scientific review of kratom benefits. The present study by the FDA can be a response to that request. “From this analysis, the agency concluded that all of the compounds share the most structural similarities with controlled opioid analgesics, such as morphine derivatives,” the FDA revealed.
Overall, the FDA prohibits the use of kratom to treat a medical condition or as an alternative to prescription opioids. Moreover, the agency slams the idea of kratom being a useful product due to its plant origins while calling it a “shortsighted and dangerous” proposition. The researchers compared the product to heroin, which is a highly addictive street drug. Significantly, heroin is prepared from morphine, an opium-based drug used for treating severe pain in surgery patients or pain from cancer and heart attack.
Morphine abuse in America
In 2016, 11.8 million Americans aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past month, suggested the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). These opioids included heroin and prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine. An opiate narcotic painkiller, morphine is a Schedule II controlled substance with high potential for abuse. Therefore, it is important to identify early signs of morphine addiction to avoid subsequent complications.
Like other drug abuse, morphine addiction is also treatable. Timely screening and treatment at a reputed rehab center can help patients resume a sober life. Sovereign Health is a trusted drug rehab facility in the U.S. offering evidence-based treatment for morphine addiction. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 683-9756 to know about our state-of-the-art morphine rehab. You can also chat online with one of our counselors for more information on our morphine addiction treatment.