Kratom is a natural plant growing in southeast Asia that has been used by the local population for hundreds of years for pain and anxiety relief. The plant is a combination of alkaloids working together to provide the desired effect. The use of Kratom in the United States has become popular as an alternative to opioids for pain relief and as a reported safer alternative for those with opioid addictions.
Despite the reported health benefits and potential lifesaving alternative to opioids, misinformation in published peer-reviewed medical journals and online health sources abound. The types of misinformation fall into three general categories: Online health information with references that do not support the actual content and conclusions of the references cited, medical journal titles and abstracts that disingenuously summarize the content and conclusions of the article, and Journal articles that draw conclusions not supported by the facts presented in the article.
The following are examples of each of the above types of misinformation:
An example of the first category of misinformation is from the Mayo Clinic Consumer Health Information online, Kratom: Unsafe and ineffective - Mayo Clinic. For example, this article lists many side effects that are not supported by any of the references listed. The article provides nothing but misinformation from the title and the content their claims regarding Kratom are unsubstantiated and false. In addition, there is no author(s) listed.
An article by Nelsen JL, et.al., “Seizure and coma following Kratom (Mitragynina speciosa Korth) exposure” is an illustration of an article title and abstract that disingenuously summarizes the content and conclusions of the article. The content of this article states that the patient’s drug screen was positive for multiple other substances including Datura, yet the article title and abstract only mentions kratom. The authors acknowledge this in the content of the article by stating…” it remains a leap to infer there is causality based on an association.”
Castillo et al, “Posterior reversible leukoencephalopathy syndrome after kratom ingestion,”
Is an example of a journal article that draws conclusions not supported by the facts presented in the article. This article states, “His drug screen was positive for amphetamine, benzodiazepine (lorazepam given in local emergency room), cannabinoids, and opiates (morphine given in local emergency room). His urine was not tested for kratom.” The patient tested positive for multiple other substances that might explain his symptoms yet the title and abstract mention kratom alone. In fact, the article doesn’t provide any evidence or report that the patient took kratom. This is obviously very deceptive.
Despite all the rhetoric in the media regarding medical misinformation there is no accountability to hold authors liable for their egregious lies regarding kratom.
I implore all representatives of the people of Wisconsin and other states to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act to protect the safe and effective use of kratom.
Austin Castillo, BS, J. Drew Payne, DO, and Kenneth Nugent, MD. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2017;30(3):355–357.
Castillo A, et al. Posterior reversible leukoencephalopathy syndrome after kratom ingestion. Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings. 2017;30:355.
Nelsen JL, Lapoint J, Hodgman MJ, Aldous KM. Seizure and coma following Kratom (Mitragynina speciosa Korth) exposure. J Med Toxicol. 2010 Dec;6(4):424-6. doi: 10.1007/s13181-010-0079-5. PMID: 20411370; PMCID: PMC3550469.