Life-threatening parkinsonism induced by kava-kava

Mov Disord. 2002 Jan;17(1):195-6. doi: 10.1002/mds.1268.


We present a 45-year-old female with severe parkinsonism induced by kava-kava. The patient, who had a family history of essential tremor, developed severe and persistent parkinsonism after days of treatment with kava extract for anxiety. The symptoms improved with anticholinergics. Kava derivatives could produce severe parkinsonism in individuals with genetic susceptibility.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carbidopa / therapeutic use
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kava / adverse effects*
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / drug therapy
  • Tremor / drug therapy*


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Levodopa
  • Carbidopa