A pregnant woman who drank kratom tea to help curb her opiate cravings has delivered a baby that still showed the effects of opiate withdrawal, according to CNN.
The unnamed woman “had used oxycodone for almost a decade” but was considered sober for two years prior to her pregnancy, according to doctors who studied her case. During her pregnancy, the woman had “urine drug screens that looked specifically for oxycodone and other opioids” and found nothing. However, the drug tests didn’t screen for kratom, a herbal supplement that can have “opioid-like effects at high doses.”
According to a report published in the journal Pediatrics on Wednesday, the woman had vehemently denied taking any substances during her pregnancy. However, her husband admitted that his wife had consumed kratom tea regularly.
As a result of the woman’s tea drinking, her son was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and showed signs of withdrawal that is usually seen in infants whose mothers use illicit substances during their pregnancies.
Dr. Whitney Eldridge, a neonatologist for BayCare Health System in Florida and the lead author on the report suggested that women who use kratom tea to curb withdrawal symptoms in themselves may not realize they are still ingesting a substance that can cause their unborn child to suffer from withdrawals after birth.
“I fear that women making genuine commitments to overcome their dependency may develop a false sense of safety by using a substance that is advertised as a non-opioid alternative,” Dr. Eldridge said in the report.
While cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome in relation to kratom consumption are rare, according to FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the “case is not unique.” In fact, the FDA “is aware of four other cases involving neonates exposed to kratom while in utero who experienced neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome after term delivery.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, kratom tea is a herbal supplement that is embroiled in controversy because of its opioid-like properties. The tea uses the leaves of the kratom tree, which is native to Southeast Asia, according to Health. Kratom is currently being used by some individuals to help treat the likes of anxiety, chronic pain, and opiate withdrawal.
Dr. Eldridge hopes that there is more research regarding kratom consumption. In the meantime, she stressed that experts “need to counsel women who are pregnant about the risk of kratom such as they would any other legal substance that can have ill effects on their newborn.”