Kratom is the name used for leaves from an evergreen tree found in Southeast Asia. However, health representatives have still not recognized a precise brand or supplier of kratom supplements tied to the outbreak. And on Tuesday the botanical was linked to 28 cases of salmonella poisoning, including eight that had been confirmed to have used kratom.
In 2016 the Drug Enforcement Administration touched off a firestorm when it announced that on an emergency basis it was going to unilaterally classify ingredients in the supplement as a Schedule I drug.
In an announcement on its website, the CDC announced 28 infections in 20 states, with eleven hospitalizations (but no deaths) linked to Salmonella infections, potentially from kratom pills, powder, or tea.
Initial findings from the investigation, however, indicated that kratom is the source of the salmonella outbreak.
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Beyond this recent salmonella outbreak, kratom is becoming a topic of concern across multiple agencies, including the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, for other reasons. The agency recently developed a novel scientific analysis using a computer model which demonstrated stronger evidence of kratom compounds' opioid properties, which can lead to serious side effects like seizures and depression. Earlier this month, the agency declared that kratom acts like an opioid in the human brain.
Proponents of the substance say it can be used to treat chronic pain, anxiety and opioid withdrawal symptoms.
He noted that there have been 44 reported deaths associated with kratom use.
Kratom has never gained FDA approval and is largely unregulated - meaning that, as with most supplements, it's nearly impossible to verify what's actually in "kratom" pills, powders, or teas. There are now no FDA-approved therapeutic uses of kratom and importantly, the FDA has evidence to show that there are significant safety issues associated with its use. "There are three FDA-approved products that are safe and effective for the treatment of opioid use disorder and we encourage patients to seek advice from their health care professional and pursue treatment for addiction".