Adverse Reactions

In RCT, the incidence of adverse effects to kava kava has been found to be similar to placebo. Two post-marketing surveillance studies involving more than 6000 patients found adverse effects in 2.3% and 1.5% of patients taking 120-240 mg standardised extract (Ernst 2002). The most common side-effects appear to be gastrointestinal upset and headaches. HEPATOTOXICITY

A systematic review assessing the safety of kava which included a total of 7078 patients taking kava extract equivalent to 10 mg to 240 mg kavalactones per day for 5-7 weeks identified no cases of hepatotoxicity (Stevinson et al 2002). Considering that case reports of hepatotoxicity exist, they should be considered a very rare event based on the evidence.

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