Health Care

CDC issues warning on herbal supplement that could have opioid qualities

CDC issues warning on herbal supplement that could have opioid qualities”

The Food and Drug Administration declared this week that Kratom, a substance many opioid addicts have credited with helping them kick addictions, is a unsafe drug.

Almost all of kratom's major compounds bind to opioid receptors in the human brain, and two of the top five most prevalent compounds activate those receptors, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Neurosurgeon said, "Around the world kratom, an herb, has been used for centuries to help people manage pain".

The FDA is warning individuals to avoid using kratom, which has been used by some as a remedy for opioid addiction and to treat addicts' medical conditions, as the herbal drug is "predicted to affect the body just like opioids" do. "There are safe and effective, FDA-approved medical therapies available for the treatment of opioid addiction".

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Gottlieb noted that the 44 reported deaths associated with the use of kratom were an increase from 36 deaths reported in November.

However, critics say the research is flawed, noting some of the victims were mixing it with other drugs.

"We definitely believe that this could be a solution to, or part of the solution to, the opioid crisis that we're now in", Christopher R. McCurdy said. Patients addicted to opioids are using kratom without dependable instructions for use and more importantly, without consultation with a licensed health care provider about the product's dangers, potential side effects or interactions with other drugs.

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