A new study claims herb kratom, which is used to treat addiction, is unsafe for use. Researchers from Binghamton University conducted the study.
Kratom is a herbal supplement that is derived from a plant grown in Southeast Asia. It is commonly used to treat opioid addiction and pain. Researchers are concerned it poses a risk to public health because it is available as a herbal supplement.
For the study, the team reviewed data containing reported cases of kratom exposure to determine the side effect associated with its use. Close to 2,312 kratom exposures were reported. Toxicity, vomiting, hallucinations, and agitation were among the side effects many people experienced, according to the study's findings.
"Although it is not as strong as some other prescription opioids, kratom does still act as an opioid in the body. In larger doses, it can cause slowed breathing and sedation, meaning that patients can develop the same toxicity they would if using another opioid product," said William Eggleston, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Binghamton University, told a news portal.
He further explained: "It is also reported to cause seizures and liver toxicity. Kratom may have a role in treating pain and opioid use disorder but more research is needed on its safety and efficacy. Our results suggest it should not be available as a herbal supplement."
The team is now trying to asses how patients are using kratom and if the risk for toxicity changes depending on the dosage. The study's findings were originally published in the journal Pharmacotherapy.
Another study, published in the JAMA Pediatrics, has also found there are many young people who are struggling with opioid addiction and are not getting the right kind of treatment. "This study shows that the great majority of youth are not receiving treatment recommended in evidence-based guidelines," study author, Dr Scott Hadland, a paediatrician and addiction specialist at the Grayken Center for Addiction at the Boston Medical Center, told a news portal. Adding, “That’s really concerning because the data suggest that when people do receive medication they are much more likely to remain in treatment.”