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Liver Function Test Abnormalities in Users of Aqueous Kava Extracts

Liver Function Test Abnormalities in Users of Aqueous Kava Extracts

  1. Jasim
    Introduction. Hepatic toxicity from manufactured herbal remedies that contain kava lactones
    has been reported in Europe, North America, and Australia. There is no evidence for serious
    liver damage in kava-using populations in Pacific Island societies or in Indigenous
    Australians who have used aqueous kava extracts. This article presents evidence that liver
    function changes in users of aqueous kava extracts appear to be reversible. Data from one
    Arnhem Land community [Northern Territory (NT), Australia] with 340 indigenous people
    older than 15 years of age in 2000 are used. Methods. This study was a cross-sectional
    study with 98 participants, 36 of whom had never used kava. Among 62 kava users, 23 had
    discontinued kava at least 1 year before the study. Continuing users had not used kava for 1
    to 2 months (n¼10) or 1 to 2 weeks previously (n¼15). Some (n¼14) had used kava
    within the previous 24 hr. Liver function tests were compared across these groups, taking
    into account differences due to age, sex, alcohol, and other substance use. Results. The
    average quantity of kava powder consumed was 118 g=week, and median duration of use
    was 12 years (range, 1–18 years). Kava usage levels were less than one-half of those found
    in previous studies. More recent kava use was independently associated with higher levels of
    liver enzymes gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) ( p