‘Natural’ Painkiller Used To Wean An Opioid Addiction Causing Spike In Poison Control Calls
Kratom is a highly addictive plant that can be brewed into teas, and it's causing serious side effects for patients. In other news, physicians are having to learn new skills to help deal with the opioid epidemic, and Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would require insurers to cover addiction treatment.
Poison Control Centers Are Getting A Surge Of Calls About ‘Natural’ Painkiller Kratom
The herbal supplement seemed like a miracle. Trying to kick an opioid addiction, the middle-aged man found he could soothe his cravings with a tea made from an Asian plant called kratom. It relieved his pain and made him more alert. But when he combined it with a stimulant, it also gave him a seizure that landed him in a Boston-area emergency room. Those kinds of stories are on the rise, according to a study published Thursday in a weekly report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of calls to poison centers about problems stemming from kratom ingestion have increased tenfold over five years, from 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015. (Boodman, 7/28)
Doctors Need A New Skill Set For This Opioid Abuse Treatment
In a big hotel conference room near New York's Times Square, six doctors huddle around a greasy piece of raw pork. They watch as addiction medicine specialist Michael Frost delicately marks the meat, incises it and implants four match-sized rods. "If you can do it well on the pork, you can easily do it on the person," Frost tells his audience. Frost consults for Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the newly FDA-approved treatment Probuphine, and is teaching doctors how to use it. They are learning to implant it in pork so they can later implant it in patients' arms. (Shakerdge, 7/28)
Controversial Bill Would Require 30-Day Addiction Treatment Coverage
State lawmakers are considering a health insurance mandate that would require private health insurers to cover addiction treatment. As part of the federal Medicaid waiver the Baker administration filed this year, some public health insurance carriers would be required to cover up to 30 days of treatment. But some commercial insurers, along with several business groups, say there's no evidence that 30 days works. (Becker and McNerney, 7/28)