As long as Kratom has been around there have been many speculations and misconceptions surrounding the substance, but this latest claim is just astonishing. Recently a mother gave birth to a newboard and it came out jiterry, screaming, and requiring an immediate infusion of morphine just to stay alive, but why? The mother had been hooked on oxycodone for almost a decade, but she told the doctors that she had successfully completed rehab treatment and never touched drugs during her pregnancy. So, why did her baby come out in a condition like this? The doctors didn’t blame heroin, fentanyl, or any other illicit substance. They went right to blaming the herbal supplement known as Kratom.
The Recent Reports
How did the doctors come to this conclusion? Well, there was a recent case report that was published on Wednesday in the Journal Pediatrics. The report stated that both the mother and the newborn baby were drug tested. The urine tests were specifically designed to look for oxycodone and other opioids, but the tests came back negative. However, the tests did not test for Kratom.
Kratom is a plant that grows in Southeast Asia and has typically been used over the years by the local area to treat chronic pain and curb opioid cravings. Scientists and doctors claim that when the substance is consumed it attaches itself to the same receptors in the brain that morphine and similar drugs attach to. There are many experts out there that have been quoted saying that Kratom could be the very solution for this rising opioid epidemic. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration says that it is a potentially lethal psychoactive drug.
What Does The Mother Say?
The mother of the addicted newborn told the doctors that she did not consume any illegal substances during her pregnancy. However, it was her husband that brought up the fact that she drank Kratom tea every day to help treat her withdrawal symptoms and get some sleep. The leading author of the report mentioned above went on to say that he feared that the woman was making genuine commitments to overcome her dependency, but has developed a false sense of safety by taking a substance like Kratom. The substance has never been advertised as a non-opioid alternative.
What Do The Doctors Say?
The doctors said that the mother might be well-intentioned, but because the urine tests came back negative in both her and her infant it is highly likely that Kratom is the reason for the condition of her newborn. The newborn was born into a condition that is known clinically as neonatal abstinence syndrome, the baby was successfully weaned off dependence. It only took eight days and on the eighth day of his treatment, he was released to his parents.
What Does The Food And Drug Administration Say?
The Food and Drug Administration has been quoted saying that unfortunately, this is not a unique case. In fact, they are aware of other similar cases that have been reported. In such cases, it was also alleged that Kratom was the very cause of neonatal abstinence syndrome. The FDA has gone on record saying that there have been four reported cases and have issued warning after warning about Kratom. The FDA has concerns that the cases are proof that the substance could lead to abuse and addiction. The FDA also claims that in further research it will help reveal to lawmakers that Kratom needs to be better regulated.
The FDA also said to the medical professional that they need to counsel women who are pregnant about the risk of Kratom and they would with any other mother addicted to similar drugs. They need to tell the mothers the ill effects that these substances can have on their newborns.
What Do Other Experts In The Medical Field Think?
There are plenty of experts out there that are hesitant about drawing any conclusions for the above report. However, they do note that using Kratom during pregnancy could potentially cause neonatal abstinence syndrome, but none of these cases have specifically linked the condition with Kratom. It is simply nothing more than speculation saying that Kratom was the reasons for the condition. One associate research scientist at Columbia University said that he is not surprised at these reports because it is a well-known fact that Kratom certainly has an opioid effect and can induce tolerance in users. This is especially true when the users are consuming higher doses on a daily basis.
The scientist has studied Kratom for the past seven years and he did go on
to say the doctors weren’t able to test for the Kratom itself. He claims that the main thing that contradicts the study is the fact that they don’t know the exact dosage that the mothers were taking. Without this information, it is hard to come up with any definitive proof. Any conclusion without that information would simply be speculation.
Another expert in the field who is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and physician in the Department of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital went on the record saying that the
mother might not even have consumed Kratom at all. There is no definitive proof that the mother used Kratom. In fact, she denied using any legal or illegal substance during her birth. It was, in fact, the husband that made the claim. There was never any attempt whatsoever to very that the mother was ingesting Kratom.
What Does This Say About Kratom And Where Is It Going?
It is clear that the Food and Drug Administration has issued several different warnings against Kratom, but the substance is still
fairly easy to purchase. In fact, it is even sold as a tea in many cafes throughout different parts of the United States. It has been estimated that there are currently anywhere from three to five million Americans who use the substance. And, the individuals that do consume it are openly aware to its warning labels. One expert did go on the record and say that there should be a warning label on Kratom products that warn against using the substance during pregnancy.
The FDA went back to that old statement that it has been using over and over again. They keep claiming that since Kratom acts on the opioid receptors it has a huge potential for abuse. The agency has also said that they know of at least 44 deaths that have been associated with Kratom use. However, if you look at these 44 deaths most of them involve other opioids as well. Another member of the FDA noted that Kratom could potentially cause seizures as well, but he did say that Kratom is safer than other opioid-related drugs. And, this is because Kratom does not cause respiratory depression when it is consumed alone.
It is the respiratory depression, which is slow and ineffective breathing that makes opioid overdoses so deadly. This is why one day Kratom could be the very answer for the fight against opioid addiction in the United States. Of course, it would have to be regulated and used wisely. There are also other members of the FDA that truly believe through rigorous testing and studies there is no reason to see why Kratom shouldn’t be used as a prescription pharmaceutical that serves as a bridge to formal drug treatment.
The Challenges With Developing Kratom-Based Drugs
The American Kratom Association does note that the members of the FDA make a good point. Kratom should one day be a prescription pharmaceutical, but there are many challenges that almost make it impossible. First, there is very little incentive to turn the substance into a prescription pharmaceutical because they simply can’t patent the plant. It literally takes anywhere from one to two billion dollars to introduce a new pharmaceutical on the market. And, what drug manufacturer is going to invest that kind of money when some other company can come along and get on board?
Due to the fact that Kratom is known as a dietary supplement, manufacturers do not need the FDA’s approval to buy and sell the substance. However, in order for them to legally sell it, they cannot make claims that it will treat specific conditions or symptoms. However, there are plenty of companies out there that are making these very claims to sell their products. In fact, the mere fact that companies are claiming that the substance can relieve opioid withdrawal is one of their biggest selling points. And, the claims that the substance can treat
chronic pains along with a myriad of other ailments chronic pains along with a myriad of other ailments don’t hurt the sales either.
After all, this is American and if there is a product that is useful for your health, you should have the right to take it as long as it doesn’t harm you. And, there really hasn’t been any actual proof that Kratom has cause harm, under normal circumstances in people who are not pregnant.