THURSDAY, April 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Dangerously high levels of heavy metals have been found in dozens of kratom products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
The agency analyzed 30 kratom products from a variety of sources and found levels of lead and nickel at concentrations that exceed safe daily intake.
Kratom is an herbal drug that many use for pain and to try to wean themselves off opioids. Long-term kratom users face the risk of heavy metal poisoning, which could include nervous system or kidney damage, anemia, or high blood pressure and/or an increased risk for certain cancers, according to the FDA.
"Over the last year, the FDA has issued numerous warnings about the serious risks associated with the use of kratom, including novel risks due to the variability in how kratom products are formulated, sold, and used both recreationally and by those who are seeking to self-medicate for pain or to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in an agency news release. "Among these warnings are the extremely high rates of contamination of kratom products with Salmonella that have resulted in numerous illnesses and recalls, leading to the agency's first-ever mandatory recall order."