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Chewing Khat Linked to Severe Liver Damage
Date:4/28/2010

associated with a drug as widely used as khat, "it usually means that that particular person is metabolizing it differently, because otherwise you would see it in thousands of people."

Chapman's team thinks that doctors should consider khat as a cause of unexplained liver disease among patients from ethnic communities where khat chewing is common.

Schiff agreed that doctors should suspect khat as a cause of unexplained liver disease in appropriate patients. But, he added, even if you know the cause, patients with this degree of liver failure will still need a transplant.

"People who are doing this are taking it on their own and have no idea that it is toxic to the liver," Schiff said, adding that users need to be better informed about the risks.

More information

For more on liver disease, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Eugene Schiff, M.D., director of the Center for Liver Diseases, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; April 29, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine


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