Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sleep Aid Kava Kava Warning

Kava is a plant native to the South Pacific and has been used for thousands of years in rituals and ceremonies. This shrub produces large, green, heart-shaped leaves that grow thickly on the branches. Long, slender flowers grow where the branches meet the stems. The roots look like bundles of woody, hairy branches. Today in the South Pacific kava is a popular social drink similar to alcohol in Western societies. In the West there have been safety concerns about kava due to cases of liver damage and even deaths and in March 2002 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a sleep aid kava kava warning. As a result, kava has been banned from the market in Switzerland, German, Canada and several other countries are considering similar action. This ban has hurt the export economy of the Pacific Islands countries. Due to these potential dangers, kava should be used only under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

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Kava has been extensively studied, however, and evidence suggests that under proper a doctor’s care it may be helpful for the following sleep problems: anxiety, stress along with treating symptoms associated with insomnia like trouble falling asleep easy, waking up during the night and has trouble falling back to sleep or not feeling rested the next day. Other health problems it is also used for; adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy, psychosis, depression, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, respiratory tract infections, TB, muscle pain and cancer prevention. Kava Kava has also be used for urinary tract infections (UTIs), menstrual discomfort, STD’s and sexual arousal. Kava applied to the skin promotes wound healing and as a mouthwash for canker sores and toothaches. More information about kava see: Kava Kava to Sleep Easy

Kava Kava affects parts of the brains nervous system due to the kavalactones which are the main psychoactive components of kava roots. Kavalactones are often consumed through preparing kava as an herbal tea, prepared by straining a mixture of water and shredded, pounded, dried root and/or stump. It’s been reported that people have received DUI citations when they have consumed large amounts of kava tea therefore; it is recommended that you do not drive or operate heavy machinery after use. Kava is possibly unsafe as a tea or other oral forms and using kava as little as one to three months has resulted in liver transplants and even death. Early liver damage symptoms include yellowing of the eyes and skin known as jaundice, fatigue and dark urine. Nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, mouth numbness, or blurred vision may occur. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely, but serious side effects occur: muscle spasm/stiffness/weakness, uncontrolled movements (especially of lips and tongue), loss of coordination, shakiness (tremor), easy bleeding/bruising, weight loss, red or pink urine. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. If you are taking kava kava for any reason it is recommended that you take a frequent liver function test. Liver function tests are a type of blood test, and they're usually (but not always) done as a group. You may hear your doctor refer to these tests by their medical name, hepatic function panel or liver profile. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Since anxiety and stress are the number one causes of sleep problems scientists have researched kava extract and found that is improves symptoms after one week of treatment. Results have shown that this herb may be as effective as certain antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Kava is currently available in as an extract or tincture and pill form. Health care providers recommend that you find a product that contains only 70% kavalactones or 60 to 600 mgs. There are no known scientific reasons for pediatric use therefore; it is not for children. It may take as much as four weeks before you notice any improvement and you should not take kava more than three months. The FDA’s warning has prompted some suspension of kava products such as; Pharmanex the herbal supplement wing of Provo-based NuSkin Enterprises Menopause Formula and Kava Kava. Provo-based Nature’s Sunshine is adding the following warning label to its products stating a potential risk of liver damage:.

WARNING: This product may rarely cause serious (possibly fatal) liver disease. Stop taking this product and consult your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of liver injury, including persistent nausea, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, stomach/abdominal pain, pale stools, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin. Using this product for a long time or in high doses, using certain other drugs that may harm the liver along with this product, current/previous liver problems, and drinking alcoholic beverages may increase your risk of serious liver problems. See also Drug Interactions section.

Other precautions include; do not use if pregnant or breast feeding, depressed, have liver problems or having surgery due to its affects on the central nervous system it may increase the effect of anesthesia. Stop taking kava at least two weeks prior to surgery. Possible drug interactions can occur if you are taking anticonvulsants, central nervous system depressants, antipsychotic medications and Levodopa (medication for Parkinson’s disease). It may increase the affects of certain prescription drugs used as sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants and narcotic pain relievers. Do not take when consuming alcohol as it may increase the chances for liver damage. This document does not contain all possible drug or medical interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use and medical conditions. Keep a list of all your prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.

If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

It is important to note that some people have developed severe liver damage, even liver failure, after ingesting kava. Under no circumstances should this herb be taken without the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

The content provided in Sleep Aid Kava Kava Warning is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

When purchasing a supplement on line it is recommended that you do not solely rely on the information presented. The information and statements regarding their products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Therefore, they (the online distributor) and asleepeasy.com assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements made about the products.

From FDA.gov:

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FDA urges consumers and their health care professionals to report any cases of liver and other injuries that may be related to the use of kava-containing dietary supplements. Adverse events associated with the use of dietary supplements should be reported as soon as possible to FDA's MedWatch program by calling their toll-free number (1-800-332-1088) or through the Internet.

The presence of kava in a supplement should be identified on the product label in the "Supplement Facts" box. The following are commonly used names for kava:

• ava
• ava pepper
• awa
• intoxicating pepper
• kava
• kava kava
• kava pepper
• kava root
• kava-kava
• kawa
• kawa kawa
• kawa-kawa
• kew
• Piper methysticum
• Piper methysticum Forst.f.
• Piper methysticum G. Forst.
• rauschpfeffer
• sakau
• tonga
• wurzelstock
• yangona
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