Health authorities in the US have said a herbal supplement marketed as an alternative pain remedy has “opioid properties” and is associated with 44 deaths.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said: “There is no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use.”

New analysis of the drug reinforced the FDA’s concerns about kratom’s “potential for abuse, addiction and serious health consequences, including death”.

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