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kava (generic name)

(KAH vuh KAH vuh): An herbal product - It is promoted to help the body relax

kava

What is this medicine?
KAVA KAVA (KAH vuh KAH vuh) is an herbal or dietary supplement. It is promoted to help the body relax. The FDA has not approved this supplement for any medical use.

This herb may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • changes in vision
  • dark urine
  • fever
  • general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of appetite, nausea
  • problems with balance, talking, walking
  • right upper belly pain
  • unusually weak or tired
  • yellowing of eyes, hair, nails, or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • drowsiness, dizziness
  • weight changes

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the package labeling, or take as directed by your health care professional. For best results take this medicine with food. Do not take this medicine more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. This medicine is not recommended for use in children.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medicine?
  • alcohol
  • barbiturate medicines for seizures or sleep
  • leflunomide
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • medicines for sleep
  • methotrexate
  • muscle relaxants
  • narcotic pain relievers
  • riluzole
  • tacrine

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?
See your doctor if your symptoms do not get better or if they get worse. Do not take this supplement for more than 4 weeks unless your doctor tells you to. Long term use of this supplement has not been proven to be helpful and may be harmful.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

If you are scheduled for any medical or dental procedure, tell your healthcare provider that you are taking this medicine. You may need to stop taking this medicine before the procedure.

Herbal or dietary supplements are not regulated like medicines. Rigid quality control standards are not required for dietary supplements. The purity and strength of these products can vary. The safety and effect of this dietary supplement for a certain disease or illness is not well known. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The Food and Drug Administration suggests the following to help consumers protect themselves:
  • Always read product labels and follow directions.
  • Natural does not mean a product is safe for humans to take.
  • Look for products that include USP after the ingredient name. This means that the manufacturer followed the standards of the US Pharmacopoeia.
  • Supplements made or sold by a nationally known food or drug company are more likely to be made under tight controls. You can write to the company for more information about how the product was made.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • drug abuse or addiction
  • if you frequently drink alcohol containing drinks
  • liver disease
  • mental problems like anxiety, depression
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to kava kava, other herbs, plants, medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding
Can I stop taking the medication if I feel better?
As a general rule, you should always take your medications exactly as prescribed and do not change the dosage or stop taking the medication without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.
I am on so many medications; do I have to take them all?
This is called polypharmacy—many different medications being used at the same time by one person. Sometimes, being on multiple medications is acceptable and appropriate but at other times it may be problematic. If you are receiving your medications from multiple physicians you need to ensure that they all know what medications you are taking. The best way to do this is to make a list of all the medications you are currently using, including all nutritional supplements, homeopathic remedies, vitamins and over-the-counter drugs (if possible, also include all the diseases you have been diagnosed with). Give a copy to every doctor who takes care of you so they have it on file, this way they can avoid duplicating medications and perhaps even try to consolidate some. After every doctor's visit remember to update the list accordingly. Also, as much as you possibly can, try to use the same pharmacy to fill all your prescriptions, this way any potential drug interactions can be caught and averted.

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