The man was using kava kava for anti-anxiety effects while trying to quit smoking. He mixed the powdered herb with water to make a tea, and also placed tablets under his tongue. After three weeks, he developed an itchy rash.
The case was published this month in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology by the dermatologist who treated the man’s rash, which spread all over his face, torso, abdomen, and scalp. The rash was located in areas of the body with high concentrations of sebacious glands, which produce oil.
Although other cases of skin inflammation have been reported, this is one of the most serious skin reactions linked to kava kava. It may have something to do with other medications he was taking. He was also taking Celexa (citalopram), a prescription antidepressant that is metabolized by the same enzyme that breaks down kava kava.
Other severe side effects of kava kava include liver toxicity and kidney damage. The herb is banned in United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France and Canada, but still legal in the United States.
What is Kava Kava?
Kava kava is derived from the herb Piper methysticum (“intoxicating pepper”), which has been used in traditional medicine and ceremonies for centuries in the South Pacific islands.
In the traditional preparation, the active ingredient in kava is extracted from powdered roots using water. This preparation is not associated with many cases of liver damage, but it is also not very well-studied. Much of the kava kava that is exported to the United States and other countries is extracted using non-traditional methods, such as ethanol or acetone, then dried and sold in tablets or capsules.
Do I have a Dietary Supplement Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting dietary supplement induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by kava kava, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Dietary Supplement Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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