We describe a case of acute liver failure and death associated with the use of a preparation containing the "natural" anxiolytic kava (Piper methysticum) and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). The patient died after a report by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) warning of the potential for hepatotoxicity associated with the use of kava-containing products. The general public and alternative medicine practitioners need to be aware of the potential for non-prescription drugs to cause serious hepatic reactions.
Preparations containing kava (Piper methysticum) have become freely available in Australia and have gained widespread use as over-the-counter anxiolytics or sedatives. We report the first Australian case of fulminant hepatic failure associated with a kava-containing preparation.
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