Krypton Can Kill You

© Jason Yoder | 123RF

© Jason Yoder | 123RF

Krypton can kill you—even if you’re not Superman. And I’m not talking about the home planet of Superman. Krypton is a combination of powdered kratom and O-desmethyltramadol (O-DSMT), an active metabolite of Tramadol. Four researchers in Sweden published a case report in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology that investigated the deaths of nine individuals from their use of Krypton. One of the alkaloids in kratom, mitragynine, is a mu-receptor agonist, as is O-DSMT. The mu-receptor is the primary receptor activated by opioid drugs such as morphine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and oxycodone (OxyContin).

Combining these two mu-receptor agonists makes Krypton more powerful than kratom or Tramadol alone. Even pro-kratom websites are warning people about Krypton. O-DSMT is also reported to be considerably more potent as a mu-agonist than Tramadol. At the current time, both are legally available substitutes for prescription and illicit opioids.

Although kratom is currently not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act, it is on the DEA list of Drugs and Chemicals of Concern. And there is no current legitimate medical use for kratom in the U.S. So it cannot be legally advertised as a remedy for any medical condition. However, it is widely used for medicinal reasons, largely pain management issues and opiate withdrawal. Kratom is also reported to be a stimulant in small doses; a sedative and relaxant in larger doses; a mood and concentration enhancement; and others. Prozialeck et al. indicated there are more than 20 active compounds that have been isolated from kratom so far.

In Southeast Asia, kratom has a long history of use for pain management and opium withdrawal. As the West experiences an increased use of opioids for recreation and pain management, kratom has begun to be used in a similar way. Despite the kratom’s reputation as a “legal” opioid, there have been very few published scientific studies of its psychoactive properties and no well-controlled clinical studies of the effects of kratom on humans. However, there are several anecdotal reports available online, such as those on Erowid.

A variety of adverse effects from kratom use have been reported, consistent with its dose-related stimulant and opioid activities. Stimulant effects at lower doses can be anxiety, irritability, and increased aggression. Opioid-like effects at higher doses can include sedation, nausea, constipation and itching. Chronic high-dose usage has been associated with hyperpigmentation of the cheeks, tremors, anorexia, weight loss, and psychosis. There have been several reports of seizures.

Given that kratom is available as an herbal supplement, there is a lack of regulation and standardization related to the production and sale of kratom. Thus the problems with products like Krypton. Although it is typically seen as less addictive than classic opioids, there are many reports that it can be highly addictive. In Southeast Asia, individuals will seek out and abuse kratom for its euphoric and mind-altering effects. Chronic users can become tolerant of and physically dependent on kratom. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to those from traditional opioids.

Prozialeck et al. said that kratom and kratom-derived drugs could potentially be used for managing pain, opioid withdrawal symptoms and other clinical issues. Yet there remain serious questions about the potential toxic effects, as well as the abuse potential of kratom. The lack of quality control and standardization in the production and sale of kratom further complicates these questions.

In the meantime, remember that even pro-kratom websites are warning about Krypton. Kratom Online has put out a warning that a product called “Krypton Kratom” is being marketed and sold as a kratom product, when it is a blend of caffeine and O-DSMT.

Well, disingenuous marketers have tried to pull a fast one on the public by using the kratom name on a product that is not kratom. This blend of synthetic opiates is extremely strong and some say extremely toxic. In fact, taking just .5 grams of Krypton is said to be the equivalent of 60 grams of morphine. This is an extremely dangerous dose and could lead to severe health problems.

They cautioned buyers to be alert for anything marked as “Krypton Kratom” and called it “an instantly dangerously addictive substance.” We seem to be moving back to the days of free-wheeling patent medicines, when products like Krypton and even kratom can be legally sold, but not regulated to prevent their abuse potential.