An over-the-counter supplement may not be safe - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

An over-the-counter supplement may not be safe

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

If you have tried the supplement kratom it may not be as safe as it is advertised.

Research is linking the supplement to 44 deaths now. 

25 News reached out to a local health expert Wednesday to get his take on the supplement.

The American Kratom Association said three to five million people have used it or are using it. Many use it to manage pain and boost energy. 

Now the FDA said it could affect your body in a similar way as opioids do. 

People can get kratom over the counter. Some health professionals said it has an addictive potential, is dangerous and has a stimulant effect at lower doses but an opioid effect at higher doses.

Users do not know the proper dose because it is not regulated by the FDA. 

Executive Medical Director with the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery said, "The majority of people who try kratom are not going to become addicted to it. There is a sub-population who will be at risk to become addicted to it just like an other opioid drugs. There has to be an addictive drug in the picture. There has to be a person that has to be predisposed to addiction and it's the interaction that creates the disease of addiction."

Reports said it is banned in some states like Arkansas and Indiana. Overdose risk is especially high when combined with other drugs. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration made a proposal in 2016 for kratom to be a Schedule 1 substance. It is a classification which means it has high potential for abuse, but nothing came of it. 

The FDA issued new a warning discouraging use of the supplement, going as far to say poison control centers are getting more and more calls about the supplement.

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