According to a recent Forbes article, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottleib released a statement urging people who are self-medicating with kratom to seek help from healthcare professionals to find pain relievers that are approved by the FDA. Kratom is a medicinal herb taken to combat chronic pain, anxiety, and depression; it’s typically sold over the counter and comes in the form of a pill or tea.
Gottlieb’s statement says that kratom contains naturally occurring chemicals that register as opioids on unpublished computer models. The FDA is quick to point out that no scientific studies support the therapeutic use of kratom, but the agency has collected 44 fatal adverse reaction reports where kratom was present in the bodies of the deceased. The scientific community has known about kratom’s opioid characteristics since 1996, but it has sat in regulatory limbo since it makes no specific disease treatment claims.