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kava (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking kava ()?

Before taking kava, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, or other healthcare provider. You may not be able to use this product if you have liver or kidney disease, or certain other medical conditions or allergies.

Kava has been shown to cause severe liver injury including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. Do not take kava if you have liver problems or take medications that can affect the liver.

Do not take kava without first talking to your doctor if you are depressed or if you are being treated for depression.

Kava may increase drowsiness when taken with substances that cause drowsiness, including antidepressants, alcohol, sedatives (used to treat insomnia), pain relievers, anxiety medicines, and muscle relaxants. Do not take kava without first talking to your doctor if you take any prescription or over-the-counter medicine or herbal/health supplement, that makes you drowsy.

You should not take kava if you are pregnant. Kava may cause weaken muscle tone in the uterus.

Do not take kava without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. It is not known whether kava will be harmful to a nursing infant.

How should I take kava ()?

Kava has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of this product may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. Some marketed herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

If you choose to take kava, use it exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider.

When used to treat insomnia, kava is usually taken one hour before bedtime. When used for other purposes, kava may be taken one to several times a day.

Standardized extracts, tinctures, and solid formulations of herbal/health supplements may provide a more reliable dose of the product.

Kava is available for oral use.

Other formulations of kava may also be available. Do not use different formulations (e.g., tablets, topical formulations, teas, tinctures, and others) of kava at the same time, unless specifically directed to do so by a health care professional. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose of kava.

Kava should not be used for longer than three months without a doctor's supervision. The long-term use of kava has reportedly lead to "kawanism", which is characterized by dry, flaking, discolored skin; reddened eyes; a scaly skin rash; puffy face; muscle weakness; blood abnormalities; and feelings of poor health.

Store kava as directed on the package. In general, kava should be protected from light and moisture and stored in a sealed container.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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