February 2, 2016 – Supplements and FDA


Anchor lead: The FDA should regulate supplements, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Kratom is an herbal supplement that’s drawing notes of warning as more people are attempting to use it to treat heroin addiction, and finding that side effects and perhaps even addiction are possible.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, says this is just the latest supplement that suggests expanding the regulatory powers of the FDA.

Strain: I think the FDA definitely needs to be looking at these herbal supplements.  What their safety is and also their efficacy, but especially safety. There are these medical claims that are being made for these herbal supplements for a variety of conditions, including drug abuse disorders, and there are people trying them for drug abuse disorders but we really don’t know if they’re safe to use.  :19

Strain says the message about kratom is clear.

Strain: I would be telling people not to be trying these supplements.  My overall recommendation, especially if there’s something they need help with, like stopping heroin use or stopping alcohol use, we don’t know what kind of effects they might have or what kind of interactions they might have.  :14

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.