Nav: Home

Study finds increase in calls to US Poison Control Centers for kratom exposure

February 21, 2019

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) - In recent years, kratom has become popular as a treatment for chronic or acute pain as well as mood conditions such as depression and anxiety. It is also often used to help with opioid withdrawal. While there is a perception that kratom is safe because it is classified as an herbal supplement, a variety of serious medical outcomes as well as 11 deaths have occurred following kratom use. A new study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that there were more than 1,800 calls to U.S. Poison Control Centers regarding exposures to kratom from January 2011 through December 2017. The annual number of calls increased dramatically, going from 13 calls in 2011 to 682 calls in 2017. That is the equivalent of going from about one call a month to two calls a day. Almost two-thirds (65%) of these exposures occurred from 2016 through 2017- the two most recent years of the study.

The study, published online today in the journal Clinical Toxicology, found that most exposures occurred among males (71%), age 20 years and older (89%), at a residence (86%), and were intentional abuse or misuse (60%), suspected suicide (9%), or adverse reaction (8%). Exposure rates were highest in Idaho and Oregon and lowest in Delaware and Wisconsin.

Overall, nearly one third (32%) of the calls resulted in admission to a healthcare facility and more than half (52%) resulted in serious medical outcomes, especially among teenagers and adults. Taking kratom with another substance increased the odds of admission to a health care facility (OR 2.80) and of having a serious medical outcome (OR 2.25). The medical effects noted in this study ranged from tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), agitation/irritability, and hypertension (high blood pressure) to seizures, coma (loss of consciousness), increased bilirubin, renal (kidney) failure, and death.

"Kratom use has been associated with a variety of serious medical outcomes, from seizures and coma in adults to severe withdrawal syndrome in newborns," said Henry Spiller, MS, DABAT, co-author of this study and director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "Individuals who choose to use kratom need to be aware of the potential risks. Just because it is currently classified as an herbal supplement does not mean it is regulated or that it is safe."

Kratom is listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a "drug of concern" and has not been approved for any medical use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because it is not currently regulated, product quality, purity, and concentration varies dramatically. The researchers are calling for FDA regulation to ensure product uniformity.

Among the 48 kratom exposures that involved children age 12 years and younger, 69% were children younger than two years, including seven newborns, five of whom were experiencing withdrawal.

"As physicians, we need to educate pregnant women on the risks of kratom use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding," said Spiller.

Data for this study were obtained from the National Poison Data System, which is maintained by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). The AAPCC receives data about calls to poison control centers that serve the U.S. and its territories. Poison control centers receive phone calls through the Poison Help Line and document information about the product, route of exposure, individual exposed, exposure scenario, and other data.
-end-
The Central Ohio Poison Center provides state-of-the-art poison prevention, assessment and treatment to residents in 64 of Ohio's 88 counties. The center services are available to the public, medical professionals, industry, and human service agencies. The Poison Center handles more than 42,000 poison exposure calls annually, and confidential, free emergency poisoning treatment advice is available 24/7. To learn more about the Poison Center, visit http://www.bepoisonsmart.org.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research at its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, policy, and advances in clinical care. For related injury prevention materials or to learn more about CIRP, visit http://www.injurycenter.org.

Nationwide Children's Hospital

Related Data Articles:

Storing data in music
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a technique for embedding data in music and transmitting it to a smartphone.
Life data economics: calling for new models to assess the value of human data
After the collapse of the blockchain bubble a number of research organisations are developing platforms to enable individual ownership of life data and establish the data valuation and pricing models.
Geoscience data group urges all scientific disciplines to make data open and accessible
Institutions, science funders, data repositories, publishers, researchers and scientific societies from all scientific disciplines must work together to ensure all scientific data are easy to find, access and use, according to a new commentary in Nature by members of the Enabling FAIR Data Steering Committee.
Democratizing data science
MIT researchers are hoping to advance the democratization of data science with a new tool for nonstatisticians that automatically generates models for analyzing raw data.
Getting the most out of atmospheric data analysis
An international team including researchers from Kanazawa University used a new approach to analyze an atmospheric data set spanning 18 years for the investigation of new-particle formation.
More Data News and Data Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...