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Posted November 14, 2017

36 Deaths Associated With the Use of Kratom Products

On November 14, 2017, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. issued a statement on the dangers of using products containing kratom, an herb often promoted for pain relief, energy and for treating opioid withdrawal symptoms.

"I want to be clear on one fact: there are currently no FDA-approved therapeutic uses of kratom," Gottlieb said in his statement. 

The FDA is aware of 36 deaths related to the use of products containing kratom. Last month, a police officer died of an overdose of kratom.

The active compounds in kratom are opioids which can have effects similar to morphine and heroin. Consumption of kratom has been associated with agitation, irritability, tachycardia, nausea, drowsiness, and hypertension. Risks of using kratom include hepatotoxicity, psychosis, seizure, weight loss, insomnia, tachycardia, vomiting, poor concentration, hallucinations, and death. 

"Importantly, evidence shows that kratom has similar effects to narcotics like opioids, and carries similar risks of abuse, addiction and in some cases, death. Thus, it's not surprising that often kratom is taken recreationally by users for its euphoric effects," Gottlieb said. "At a time when we have hit a critical point in the opioid epidemic, the increasing use of kratom as an alternative or adjunct to opioid use is extremely concerning." 

In August 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced its intent to classify the active compounds (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) in kratom as Schedule I controlled substances. However, the agency withdrew its proposal several months later after receiving "numerous comments from members of the public challenging the scheduling action." The agency has taken the public comments into consideration, and will now receive a scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation from the FDA before making a final decision on classification of the herb. However, several states have now classified kratom as a Schedule I substance.

See these related warnings:

Police Officer Dies From Kratom Overdose, Herb Currently Legal in Most States

Kratom To Be Classified a Schedule I Controlled Substance

U.S. Marshals Seize $150,00 Worth of Kratom

Over $400,000 Worth of Kratom Supplements Seized by U.S. Marshals

U.S. Marshals Seize $5 Million Worth of Kratom

Products Containing Kratom Recalled Following FDA Import Alert

To read FDA Commissioner's full statement, use the link below.