Kratom: a dangerous player in the opioid crisis

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Publication Title

Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives


Kratom use as a herbal supplement is on the rise in the United States, with reported medical outcomes and lethal effects suggesting a public health threat. Even though the Drug Enforcement Administration has included kratom on its drugs of concern list and the FDA has published a press release to identify it as an opioid with a potential for abuse, its therapeutic and side effects are still not well defined in the literature. Here, we present a case of a 32-year-old man with a history of kratom use who became acutely ill with a brief prodromal illness, followed by jaundice and elevated liver enzymes showing a cholestatic picture, and his successful treatment. In this case, we emphasize the need for awareness of kratom exposure as a key contributor in the expansion of the opioid crisis, with therapeutic benefits earned at the expense of potentially lethal side effects.

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Publication Date

Summer 6-12-2018