Kratom Products Recalled: Serious Health Risks

The plant, Mitragyna Speciosa.  Photo by Uomo Vitruviano
The plant, Mitragyna Speciosa. Photo by Uomo Vitruviano

Health Canada has announced that a company, Garnoff Botanicals, is voluntarily recalling unauthorized kratom products as they may pose serious health risks.

Haven't heard of kratom?  Don't feel bad -- you're not alone.  Kratom is the plant pictured above, or products derived from it.  What health risks does it pose?  Health Canada did  not specify the risks of the particular products being recalled in its announcement, but a Google search uncovers several known risks of kratom:

  • high blood pressure
  • high heart rate
  • constipation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • seizures
  • addiction
  • psychosis
  • liver toxicity 

Kratom has been involved in several deaths in the United States, though it is not known to have been the sole or principal factor in any of them.

Kratom is used by some for pain relief in place of opiates and opioids, and has been used recreationally -- but no clinical trials have been done to test its health effects, and there are no approved medical uses for it. 

Health Canada advises anyone who has been using these products to stop immediately, and to consult your health care professional if you have had any worrisome symptoms.

Health Canada also advises:

  • Read product labels to verify that health products have been authorized for sale by Health Canada. Authorized health products have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Drug Number (DIN-HM). You can also check whether products have been authorized for sale by searching Health Canada’s Drug Product Database and Licensed Natural Health Product Database.
  • Report adverse events to health products to Health Canada by calling toll-free at 1‑866‑234‑2345, or by reporting online, by mail or by fax.
  • Report complaints about health products to Health Canada by calling toll-free at 1‑800‑267‑9675, or complete an online complaint form.

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