The US Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday it has discovered high levels of heavy metals, such as lead and nickel, in some kratom products, as a result of field investigations.
The regulator has repressed the substance, which advocates say would help relieve pain and reduce withdrawal symptoms of opioids, but the FDA has similar effects to narcotics such as opioids and has resulted in dozens of death.
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Metal levels in kratom-based products would not likely result in single-use poisoning, but could cause suffering to people if they were used persistently, the statement said. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
"The results of the identification of heavy metals in kratom only strengthen our public health warnings regarding this substance," Gottlieb said in a statement.
Although kratom is not controlled under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has listed it as a "drug and chemical of concern".
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The leaves of the kratom tree, native to Southeast Asia, can be used as a stimulant or sedative.
The FDA has indicated that it contacts companies marketing kratom products to inform them of metal test results.
The agency once issued warnings against companies marketing these products for the disorder of opioid use, and cautioned against high levels of salmonella in these products.