U.S. Marshals Seize 90,000 Bottles of Botanical Dietary Supplement Kratom — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 8, 2016

U.S. Marshals Seize 90,000 Bottles of Botanical Dietary Supplement Kratom

By Kristin J. Kelley

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

U.S. Marshals have seized nearly a half a million dollars' worth of dietary supplements containing kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a plant-based substance that people use recreationally or to self-treat opioid addiction. The supplement (marketed as RelaKzpro) could pose a risk to public health, the FDA says, because it has narcotic-like effects and can potentially be abused.

Kratom, which grows in Southeast Asia, affects the brain the same way opiates do. Risks associated with consuming the substance include nervousness, respiratory depression, and vomiting. Additionally, withdrawal can cause aggression, hostility, muscle and bone aches, and jerky limb movements.

Importation of kratom was banned by the FDA in 2014. The agency says there is "inadequate information" that supplements with kratom don't present a risk for illness or injury, and it warns people not to use the substance.

Reader Comments (2)

William DeMedio Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Private

I have not seen anyone who died of this new drug Kratom. I haven't heard of it either. I do hear of and see deaths from legal opioid doses every day of the year.

Before stopping the import of this product and making it illegal, I would suggest to the feds to be sure this Kratom is not doing more good than harm to people. If it causes no significant respiratory depression and is not dangerous, the greatest damage it does will be to manufacturers and distributors of oxycodone, hydrocodone, buprenorphine, dilaudid, methadone, and the other legal opioids. It also might cut into the illegal diacetyl morphine (Heroin, a Bayer trademark) trade. From what I do know, Kratom leaves are no more dangerous than the old colchicine.

Andrew Milligan PhD Biology Other Healthcare Professional, Epidemiology/Statistics

There is not enough research to determine how kratom acts in the brain. There is indication that it may bind to opiate receptors, however research is lacking if that is true or how it happens. There are a growing number of anecdotal reports claiming the effectiveness of kratom for a variety of conditions ranging from anxiety, depression, and chronic pain to name a few. Therefore I believe more research needs to be done before making any decisions on regulation or to determine kratom being a health risk. Statistically the reports of hospital visits and injury from kratom is lower than that of many over the counter products available in the United States, and Kratom has been available in the United States for at least 15 years if not longer.

Your Comment

(will not be published)

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Do you have any conflict of interest to disclose?
Last load event
Format: 2016-07-29 00:20:37
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Vertical Tabs

* Required

Reader comments are intended to encourage lively discussion of clinical topics with your peers in the medical community. We ask that you keep your remarks to a reasonable length, and we reserve the right to withhold publication of remarks that do not meet this standard.

PRIVACY: We will not use your email address, submitted for a comment, for any other purpose nor sell, rent, or share your e-mail address with any third parties. Please see our Privacy Policy.