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Old 09-11-2006, 12:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default kava & MAOI: safe?

Yes, does anyone know if using kava is safe for those on a MAOI? I couldn't find anything about this online. I ran it through the drugs.com interactions checker and nothing came up.

One of my friends used to live in Fiji and she brought home ground kava root from a local market on the island. She's going to show me how to drink it like they do ritually. Am I likely to die or anything?
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Old 09-11-2006, 01:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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You should probably ask your doctor about that.
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Old 09-11-2006, 05:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Good point, but my doctor would be against me taking kava in the first place.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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real kava.. I would love to have that opportunity. Can't tell you how it would react with you drug though. There's so little research on kava and most of it is anecetal. Your dr. probably knows no more then the average person using it.
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Old 09-12-2006, 07:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Since, like most herbs, it probably contains dozens or hundreds of different substances, there is a potential for interaction unforeseen. If any of them acts on serotonin or epinephrine, that could be dangerous - and since kava is known to have hallucinogenic properties, I'm almost certain of at least some *potential* serotonergic properties; though that's not certain of course. Since kava seems to do something with cholinergic circuits, it may indirectly cause REM rebound or (conversely), potentiate noradrenaline, which may have some risks involved.

There is also concern regarding liver toxicity, and if you are on a hydrazine MAOI then this could be potentiated. I don't know why kava may be hepatotoxic, but if it inhibits any enzymes, it could shoot drug levels through the roof accidentally.

Those just occur to me as possibilities, I really don't know at all. The fact that I have absolutely no idea would probably turn me off of it. And, it's not like I consider myself a complete idiot when it comes to MAOIs (I take Parnate).
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Old 09-12-2006, 08:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caedmon
There is also concern regarding liver toxicity, and if you are on a hydrazine MAOI then this could be potentiated. I don't know why kava may be hepatotoxic, but if it inhibits any enzymes, it could shoot drug levels through the roof accidentally.
i'm just about 100% that the liver hepatotoxicity with kava was disproved, or at least overly exaggerated. it had something to do with a bad batch, in tablet form, using the whole plant instead of the root, or something similar. it has been a long time since I looked into kava before trying it so the details are sketchy to me...

i've actually tried genuine kava root. made the drink from a recipe & everything. seriously, seriously some hideous tasting stuff. and i've tried sublingual alprazolam before . it also has a numbing effect on your mouth and throat.

but yeah, I wasn't on any psych meds at the time. And considering how interactive MAOI's are with other known medications if it was I, I probably wouldn't take risk and combine them.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Like you, I did hear that the hepatotoxicity from Kava was not accurate. I guess it might still be a concern, and enzyme interactions are always a concern even if it's not toxic.

I've heard it does cause that numbness. What did the kava root do besides that? Did it help/harm/ do nothing? I'd probably try it if I weren't on the meds I'm on. I've taken Kava in pill form, which was somewhat effective as I recall, but it was so expensive for me that i never got the chance to really test it the way I wanted to.
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Old 09-15-2006, 03:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Caedmon and Nae, your posts were just what I was looking for.

I did try the kava last night anyway. We put the ground kava root in this cloth bag made for kava preparation and soaked it in a huge bowl of water. It became a murky medium brown color and we took turns filling a smaller bowl with the stuff and taking it as shots. It numbed my mouth and throat somewhat, but not at all in the way that your mouth is numbed for dental work.

It smells so unique and delicious... kind of a sweet, rich, earthy smell. But bitter/earthy enough that when you drink it you'll probably make a face. It was fun. It relaxed me over time, more gradually than kava in pill form. It eased my body, and slowed my mind without muddling my thoughts. One of our friends who's really straight edged drank a few bowls, much to our surprise, and she fell asleep soon after.

I wouldn't do it every day, but still.. nice experience! No side effects noticed, even with my MAOI..
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