HealthDay News — Kratom is used for symptoms of pain, anxiety, depression, and opioid withdrawal, and serious adverse events are uncommon, according to a the results of a survey published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Albert Garcia-Romeu, PhD, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional online survey in 2017 involving 2798 kratom users.

The researchers found that kratom was mainly taken orally in doses of 1 to 3 g (49%) and was most commonly used daily (59%). Kratom was used for pain, anxiety, and depression (91, 67, and 65%, respectively); effectiveness was highly rated. Overall, 41% (1144 individuals) used kratom to stop or reduce prescription or illicit opioid use, with reports of decreased opioid withdrawal and craving in relation to use; continuous abstinence from opioids for more than 1 year was attributed to kratom use by 411 individuals. Adverse effects of kratom were reported by about one-third of respondents; these adverse effects were mainly rated as mild in severity and lasted ≤24 hours. Only 0.6% of participants sought treatment for adverse events. Two percent of participants met criteria for past-year moderate or severe kratom-related substance use disorder.

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“Although our findings show kratom to be relatively safe according to these self-reports, unregulated medicinal supplements raise concerns with respect to contamination or higher doses of the active chemicals, which could increase negative side effects and harmful responses,” Garcia-Romeu said in a statement.

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