Kava Controversy Continues with FDA Advisory

Mar 26, 2002

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer advisory linking use of kava to liver toxicity. The action follows only a month after an U.S. herbal supplement industry review declared kava safe.

The advisory discusses the adverse event reports and regulatory actions taken in other countries, and urged consumers to report any suspected adverse events involving kava to their health practitioner.

In related news, Germany is said to be set to reclassify kava (Piper methysticum) as a prescription-only drug following a recommendation by the country’s top government health agency to the German Health Ministry. A German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) spokesperson said the herb’s new status would take effect July 1 if the Ministry approves the recommendation. The reclassification is likely, he adds.

Moderator Comment: How should herbal products/natural
remedies be regulated by the government?

Many proponents of complementary therapies are quick
to point out that the problem with products such as kava is not the supplement
but that consumers of the product are not using it correctly. Taking OTC products
off the shelf is not always the answer. Prescription medicines are also misused
with unintended medical consequences. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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