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, 208 (1-3), 47-52

Kratom Alkaloids and O-desmethyltramadol in Urine of a "Krypton" Herbal Mixture Consumer


Kratom Alkaloids and O-desmethyltramadol in Urine of a "Krypton" Herbal Mixture Consumer

Torsten Arndt et al. Forensic Sci Int.


Aim: A drug and alcohol withdrawal rehabilitation centre requested an analysis for "Krypton" in urine of a former opiate-addictive woman. She showed an altered clinical picture and behaviour with miosis, itchiness, agitation, and moderate euphoria after 3 months of until than successful treatment. Literature search revealed that "Krypton" is said to contain "Kratom" (leaves of Mitragyna speciosa), but could also contain O-desmethyltramadol (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction thematic paper "Spice").

Methods: Immunological drug screenings were done with test strips (nal von minden, Regensburg, Germany) and with cloned enzyme donor immunoassay (Microgenics, Passau, Germany). "Kratom" alkaloids and tramadol (metabolites) were analyzed by LC-MS/MS (ThermoFisher Scientific Quantum Ultra Triple Quadrupole mass spectrometer).

Results: Immunoassays were negative for amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, benzoylecgonine, buprenorphine, ethylglucuronide, methadone (metabolite), opiates, oxycodone, and THC-COOH, and test strips were negative for tramadol and its metabolites (cut-off 10 mg/L for O-desmethyltramadol). LC-MS/MS detected the "Kratom" alkaloids mitragynine, speciociliatine, speciogynine, mitraciliatine, and paynantheine and approximately 9mg/L O-desmethyltramadol, but no tramadol and N-desmethyltramadol.

Discussion: The detection of M. speciosa alkaloids is a proof of "Kratom" abuse. Confronted with the analysis data, the patient admitted to have consumed 3-4 infusions of "Krypton". The origin of the O-desmethyltramadol is unclear. Tramadol abuse is unlikely since tramadol and N-desmethyltramadol (physiologically occurring in urine after tramadol intake) were not detectable. Consumption of a "Krypton" product spiked with O-desmethyltramadol could explain our findings and the patient's clinical picture. This would be in agreement with a most recent report about spiking apparently natural herbal mixtures with the synthetic opioid O-desmethyltramadol.

Conclusion: Analysis of "Kratom" abuse should not be restricted to M. speciosa alkaloids, but should also consider synthetic drugs which could be added to the herbal mixtures. Mass spectrometry based drug screenings will gain importance to keep pace with the dynamic drug market.

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