Supplement’s Claims are Negligent and Dangerous

The so-called miracle supplement kratom is being linked to an increasing number of fatalities, including the recent death of Georgia father Peter McPherson, The Miami Herald reports. According to the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the man’s family, the manufacturers, distributors and sellers of Expert kratom powder marketed and sold kratom products “based upon unproven and deceptive claims about its safety and ability to cure, treat or prevent medical conditions and diseases,” as well as failed to warn consumers of the risk of dependency, addiction, overdose and death.

What is Kratom?

Kratom, known also by its chemical name mitragynine, is derived from the Southeast Asian plant mitragyna speciosa. It can be chewed, ingested, or smoked. It has risen in popularity as a non-prescription remedy for anxiety, pain, depression, and opioid withdrawal. In small doses, it has a stimulant effect, while in larger doses, it can produce opioid-like effects. Kratom’s negative side effects include liver damage, muscle pain, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and tachycardia. Overdosing on kratom can lead to seizures, coma, and death. Kratom was responsible for the deaths of 91 people from July 2016 to December 2017, according to the CDC.

Research on kratom is still relatively new, so the full extent of its health effects are yet to be discovered. Despite rising deaths, the disclaimer on Expert Kratom’s website does not give any explicit warnings about kratom’s dangers.

FDA Limitations and Kratom Legality

Kratom is considered a dietary supplement, and, as such, the FDA does not have the authority to approve it before it is marketed. This means the manufacturer is the one responsible for ensuring its products meet safety standards. Supplements must meet certain labeling guidelines—but by the time a product is discovered to be mislabeled, serious injury and death may already have occurred. Alarmingly, dietary supplement serving sizes are not regulated by the FDA, which increases the risk of overdose.

Kratom is not controlled under the Controlled Substance Act. The drug is legal in all but six states and a handful of cities, and the lucrative kratom industry has a powerful lobby advocating for its continued sale. The McPherson family’s lawsuit is shining an important light on the dangers of misleading and unproven claims about kratom’s effectiveness. Consumers deserve to be truthfully and clearly informed of all of kratom’s possible risks—otherwise, deaths will continue to occur.