In addition to many other health risks, kratom products can have high levels of heavy metals, U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says.
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The FDA has issued a number of warnings about the health risks posed by the herbal supplement products, which have become increasingly popular in recent years and are used recreationally and by people trying to self-medicate for pain or to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Some kratom products have been found to contain salmonella and to cause infections.
FDA scientists recently tested 26 separate kratom products and found levels of lead and nickel unsafe for human consumption.
"While the levels of the specific products we've tested so far are not likely to result in immediate acute heavy metal poisoning from a single use, some of these products included levels that, with chronic use, could cause some people to suffer from heavy metal poisoning," Gottlieb said in a statement.
"We are concerned that there may be other kratom products on the market that also contain heavy metals," he added.
The FDA is companies that market these kratom products to make them aware of the heavy metal testing results.
"Kratom is not legally marketed in the U.S. as a drug or dietary supplement. While it is important to gather more evidence, data suggest that certain substances in kratom have opioid properties and that one or more have the potential for abuse," Gottlieb said.
"For individuals seeking treatment for opioid use disorder who are being told that kratom can be an effective treatment, I urge you to seek help from a health care provider," he said.
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