Kratom 'Poisonings' Have Increased 50-Fold in Recent Years

Live Science | 2/21/2019 | Staff
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Calls to U.S. poison centers regarding the herbal supplement kratom have increased dramatically in recent years, a new study finds.

According to the study, calls to U.S. poison centers about kratom exposure increased more than 50-fold, from just 13 calls in 2011 to 682 calls in 2017. Overall, there were more than 1,800 calls related to kratom exposure during the seven-year study period.

Kratom - Mitragyna - Speciosa - Plant - Thailand

Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant that grows in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In recent years, it's gained national attention for its growing use as an herbal supplement, which people report taking to treat pain, anxiety or depression, as well as symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

But health officials have expressed concern about the substance — last year, the FDA said it considered kratom to be an opioid drug because it interacts with opioid receptors, and the agency warned the public not to use it. Indeed, there are no FDA-approved uses for kratom, but because the substance is sold as a dietary supplement, it is not regulated the way that prescription drugs are for quality, purity and dosage accuracy, the study authors said. [5 Things to Know About Kratom].

Half - Cases - Study - Person - Health

In more than half of the cases identified in the study, the person exposed to kratom experienced moderate or serious health effects, including seizures, difficulty breathing, coma, kidney failure and cardiac arrest. Eleven of the patients died, and most of these deaths occurred among patients who used kratom with at least one other drug.

The findings suggest that, just because kratom is currently classified as an herbal supplement by the FDA doesn't mean that it's safe, study co-author Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said in a statement. "Individuals who choose...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Live Science
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