An update on the clinical pharmacology of kratom: uses, abuse potential, and future considerations

Christopher R. McCurdy, Abhisheak Sharma, Kirsten E. Smith, Charles A. Veltri, Stephanie T. Weiss, Charles M. White, Oliver Grundmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) has generated substantial clinical and scientific interest as a complex natural product. Its predominant alkaloid mitragynine and several stereoisomers have been studied for activity in opioid, adrenergic, and serotonin receptors. While awaiting clinical trial results, the pre-clinical evidence suggests a range of potential therapeutic applications for kratom with careful consideration of potential adverse effects. Areas covered: The focus of this review is on the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and potential drug–drug interactions of kratom and its individual alkaloids. A discussion on the clinical pharmacology and toxicology of kratom is followed by a summary of user surveys and the evolving concepts of tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal associated with kratom use disorder. Expert opinion: With the increasing use of kratom in clinical practice, clinicians should be aware of the potential benefits and adverse effects associated with kratom. While many patients may benefit from kratom use with few or no reported adverse effects, escalating dose and increased use frequency raise the risk for toxic events in the setting of polysubstance use or development of a use disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-142
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024


  • Kratom
  • Mitragyna speciosa
  • mitragynine
  • pharmacology
  • toxicology
  • use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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