Herbal Alert Kava

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Kava is a popular herbal remedy used to relieve stress, anxiety, and tension; promote sleep; and provide relief from menstrual symptoms. Although the FDA has not made a determination about the ability of kava dietary supplements to provide such benefits, it has issued an alert indicating that the use of kava may cause liver damage. Because kava-containingproducts have been associated with liver-related injuries (eg, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure), the safest use of kava is to take the herb occasionally for episodes of anxiety, rather than on a daily basis. It is important that individuals who use a kava-containing dietary supplement and experience signs of liver disease immediately consult their primary health care provider. Symptoms of liver disease includejaundice, urine with a brownish discoloration, nausea, vomiting, light-colored stools, weakness, and loss of appetite. Adverse effects experienced with the use of dietary supplements should be reported to the FDA's MedWatch program (see Appendix B). Identifying kava-con-taining products can be difficult. Careful reading of the "Supplement Facts" information on the label may identify kava by any of the following names:

Ava pepper Awa

Kava root Kava-kava Kew

Piper methysticum Forst.f.

Piper methysticum G. Frost.

Piper methysticum

Sakau

Tonga

Yangona

NURSING PROCESS

• The Patient Receiving an Antianxiety Drug

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