Clinical pharmacokinetic assessment of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a botanical product with opioid-like effects, in healthy adult participants

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nadja B. Cech, Patricia A. Sullivan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry (Creator)
Preston Manwill (Creator)
Nicholas Oberlies, Patricia A. Sullivan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Increasing use of the botanical kratom to self-manage opioid withdrawal and pain has led to increased kratom-linked overdose deaths. Despite these serious safety concerns, rigorous fundamental pharmacokinetic knowledge of kratom in humans remains lacking. We assessed the pharmacokinetics of a single low dose (2 g) of a well-characterized kratom product administered orally to six healthy participants. Median concentration-time profiles for the kratom alkaloids examined were best described by a two-compartment model with central elimination. Pronounced pharmacokinetic differences between alkaloids with the 3S configuration (mitragynine, speciogynine, paynantheine) and alkaloids with the 3R configuration (mitraciliatine, speciociliatine, isopaynantheine) were attributed to differences in apparent intercompartmental distribution clearance, volumes of distribution, and clearance. Based on noncompartmental analysis of individual concentration-time profiles, the 3S alkaloids exhibited a shorter median time to maximum concentration (1–2 vs. 2.5–4.5 h), lower area under the plasma concentration-time curve (430–490 vs. 794–5120 nM × h), longer terminal half-life (24–45 vs. ~12–18 h), and higher apparent volume of distribution during the terminal phase (960–12,700 vs. ~46–130 L) compared to the 3R alkaloids. Follow-up mechanistic in vitro studies suggested differential hepatic/intestinal metabolism, plasma protein binding, blood-to-plasma partitioning, and/or distribution coefficients may explain the pharmacokinetic differences between the two alkaloid types. This first comprehensive pharmacokinetic characterization of kratom alkaloids in humans provides the foundation for further research to establish safety and effectiveness of this emerging botanical product.

Additional Information

Pharmaceutics. 2022; 14(3):620.
Language: English
Date: 2022
clinical trials, pharmacokinetics, botanicals, opioids, kratom, compartmental modeling, diastereomers, mitragynine

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