Can Herbal Drug Kratom Kill?
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The herbal drug kratom, which U.S. drug regulators have said is essentially an opioid, has been linked to some narcotic overdose deaths, but whether it’s dangerous by itself isn’t clear.
In a new study, University of Colorado researchers reviewed 15 kratom-related deaths and found that in all but one, other opioids were present.
Concerns about kratom have surged in recent years. For instance, calls to poison centers regarding kratom rose tenfold between 2010 and 2015, from 26 to 263, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kratom comes from a tree native to Southeast Asia. It has been traditionally used to boost energy and decrease pain and treat illnesses.
In high doses, it acts like an opioid and has become a popular alternative treatment for pain and mood problems and to help people withdraw from narcotics. Currently, kratom can be purchased over the internet.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, has found “no evidence of safety or effectiveness for any medical use” for kratom.
Last February, the FDA issued a warning that kratom acts like an opioid. The agency reported 44 deaths in which kratom was involved, including one in which it was the sole cause.
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