Clinical Implications of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) Use: a Literature Review

Elisabeth Prevete, Kim Paula Colette Kuypers, Eef Lien Theunissen, Gianluca Esposito, Johannes Gerardus Ramaekers, Massimo Pasquini, Ornella Corazza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Purpose of Review: This work aims to provide an up-to-date review of the preclinical and clinical scientific literature on the therapeutic value of kratom to better understand the underlying mechanisms related to its use and inform future therapeutic applications.
Recent Findings: A growing number of studies, mainly of cross-sectional nature, describe the widespread use of kratom by individuals to self-treat pain, psychiatric symptoms, and substance use disorders (SUD) outside a controlled clinical setting. Preclinical evidence suggests kratom is effective as an analgesic agent and might decrease the self-administration of other drugs. A randomized controlled trial has further supported kratom’s therapeutic value as an analgesic. Investigations in nonclinical samples of long-term kratom users also indicate its therapeutic benefit in managing SUD symptoms (e.g., craving) and long-term or acute symptoms (e.g., withdrawal) for alcohol, opioids, and other illicit drugs. However, episodes of kratom-related intoxications have also been reported, often due to the adulteration and the contamination of kratom products mainly sold online or mixed toxicities when consumed outside clinical and traditional settings.
Summary: Evidence on the clinical implications of kratom use is still limited and uncertain, with kratom research constantly evolving. Therefore, further randomized trials are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-334
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Issue number2
Early online date12 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023


  • Adverse effects
  • Clinical implications
  • Kratom
  • Mitragyna speciosa
  • Mitragynine
  • Therapeutic use


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