Fatal fulminant hepatic failure induced by a natural therapy containing kava

Med J Aust. 2003 May 5;178(9):442-3. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05286.x.


We describe a case of acute liver failure and death associated with the use of a preparation containing the "natural" anxiolytic kava (Piper methysticum) and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). The patient died after a report by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) warning of the potential for hepatotoxicity associated with the use of kava-containing products. The general public and alternative medicine practitioners need to be aware of the potential for non-prescription drugs to cause serious hepatic reactions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kava / adverse effects*
  • Liver Failure / chemically induced*
  • Middle Aged
  • Passiflora / adverse effects
  • Phytotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects*


  • Plant Preparations