Medicine/Healing

Here’s why we must continue to study Kratom and other opioid-like drugs

The FDA recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to schedule (as in, effectively ban) Kratom and its alkaloids threatens fledgling efforts by researchers to investigate the alkaloids as potential new pain treatments, would hinder scientific advances as well as crucial preclinical and clinical studies.

In February 2018, the FDA commissioner released a statement declaring products derived from the leaves of the Southeast Asian tree Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom) and its alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine as opioids similar to morphine and heroin. The justification was primarily based on a computer model, the Public Health Assessment via Structure Elucidation (PHASE), which is a “novel” approach with little application and no validation data published. In the case of Kratom, the FDA appears to be lacking transparency, with Commissioner Scott Gottlieb publicly attributing “scores of deaths” to Kratom consumption. In reality, FDA has identified 44 case reports worldwide over more than a decade; all but one involved consumption of other drugs or substances that can be causative in a fatality. These “findings” make it unclear if Kratom is responsible for even just that one death, much less any other. To get some perspective, compare that one case over more than a decade to the 115 deaths each day in the U.S. from opioid overdoses. So what do we know about Kratom? The alkaloids naturally occurring in Kratom are not classic opioids like morphine or heroin. This is why Kratom consumption does not lead to classic opioid symptoms, such as the feared respiratory depression, which is often the cause of death for opioids like morphine and fentanyl.

Original Article (The Hill):
Here’s why we must continue to study Kratom and other opioid-like drugs
Artwork Fair Use: Iggnasi Labastida

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