Acute Renal Insufficiency Associated With Consumption of Hydrocodone- and Morphine-Adulterated Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa)



      Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, contains alkaloids that cause both stimulant and opioid-like effects. In the United States, its use continues to grow. Kratom products, however, are unregulated and nonstandardized, and reports of adulteration have been described previously.

      Case Report

      A 21-year-old African-American woman with a history of occasional headaches and self-treatment with internet-purchased kratom presented to the emergency department with the chief symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and left flank pain. Laboratory tests showed a markedly elevated serum creatinine of 4.25 mg/dL (reference range 0.6–1.2 mg/dL) and proteinuria. A computed tomography scan of the abdomen and pelvis was unrevealing. A standard urine screen for drugs of abuse was positive for opiates. A confirmatory testing revealed the presence of hydrocodone and morphine in the urine. Hydrocodone, morphine, and mitragynine were identified in a sample of kratom leaves provided by the patient. The patient's renal function improved with supportive care and normalized 1 month post discharge after kratom discontinuation.

      Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?

      Despite widespread use, relatively little is known about kratom's adverse effects, particularly regarding its potential to cause renal insufficiency. This case illustrates the vital importance of recognizing that adulteration of unregulated products is certainly a possibility and clinicians may continue to see a rise in adverse effects, given kratom's increasing popularity.


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