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Health & Fit Controversial supplement kratom is an opioid, FDA says

18:56  07 february  2018
18:56  07 february  2018 Source:   marketwatch.com

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a close up of a piece of paper: The herbal supplement kratom is derived from the leaves of an Asian plant. The FDA recently said that compounds found in kratom are opioids. © Provided by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. The herbal supplement kratom is derived from the leaves of an Asian plant. The FDA recently said that compounds found in kratom are opioids. Kratom, which is made using an Asian plant, isn’t “just a plant,” the FDA says — it’s an opioid.

If it looks like an opioid and acts like an opioid, it’s an opioid.

That’s the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s reasoning when it comes to kratom, an Asian plant-based dietary supplement that’s been touted as an aid for opioid withdrawal, pain, anxiety and depression.

The regulator analyzed kratom at a molecular level and looked at how it may behave inside the body and affect the brain.

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Combined with a review of the scientific literature and reports of safety issues involving kratom use, compounds found in kratom are opioids, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

“Kratom should not be used to treat medical conditions, nor should it be used as an alternative to prescription opioids. There is no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use,” Gottlieb said.

Read: The FDA is cracking down on controversial supplement kratom

Moreover, “claiming that kratom is benign because it’s ‘just a plant’ is shortsighted and dangerous,” he said, adding that “compounds in kratom make it so it isn’t just a plant — it’s an opioid.”

Last fall, the FDA cracked down on the supplement, including warning about safety concerns, setting an import alert that prevents kratom from entering the U.S. illegally and seizing several kratom products.

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Kratom use has now been associated with 44 deaths, an increase since the 36 kratom-associated deaths reported in November, according to Gottlieb.

Many of the deaths were difficult to assess fully because of limited information, but one individual who died was not known to be an opioid abuser, making the case “of particular concern,” Gottlieb said.

The cases also suggest that individuals are using kratom with other drugs that affect the brain, such as prescription opioids and the anti-diarrheal medicine loperamide.

This kind of mixing is “extremely troubling” because it can have similar health risks as combining opioids with other drugs, Gottlieb said.

However, because kratom isn’t FDA-approved, safety data is more limited than with FDA-approved opioids, the regulator said.

If you’re being encouraged to use kratom to treat opioid addiction, you should get help from a health care provider, Gottlieb said.

Three FDA-approved drugs — buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone — are available for opioid addiction, he noted.

This engineered painkiller works like an opioid but isn't addictive in animal tests .
<p>What if there were a drug that did the job opioids do best - relieve pain - without prompting many of their negative side effects.</p>Addiction, of course, is a particularly dangerous and disruptive side effect, since it hijacks a patient's brain and demands escalating doses of opioid drugs to hold withdrawal symptoms at bay.

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This is interesting!