An explorative qualitative analysis of participants' experience of using kava versus placebo in an RCT. (Clinical report)

Sarris, Jerome, Adams, Jon, & Kavanagh, David J. (2010) An explorative qualitative analysis of participants' experience of using kava versus placebo in an RCT. (Clinical report). Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, 22(1), pp. 12-16.

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Many randomised controlled trials (RCT) have been conducted using Piper methysticum (kava), however no qualitative research exploring the experience of taking kava during a clinical trial has previously been reported. ----------

Patients and methods: A qualitative research component (in the form of semi structured and open ended written questions) was incorporated into an RCT to explore the experiences of those participating in a clinical trial of kava. The written questions were provided to participants at weeks 2 and 3 (after randomisation, after each controlled phase). The researcher and participants were blinded as to whether they were taking kava or placebo. Two open ended questions were posed to elucidate their experiences from taking either kava or placebo. Thematic analysis was undertaken and researcher triangulation employed to ensure analytical rigour. Key themes after the kava phases were a reduction in anxiety and stress, and calming or relaxing mental effects. Other themes related to improvement in sleep and in somatic anxiety symptoms. ----------

Results: Kava use did not cause any serious adverse reactions although a few respondents reported nausea or other gastrointestinal side effects. This represents the first documented qualitative investigation of the experience of taking kava during a clinical trial. The primary themes involved anxiolytic and calming effects, with only a minor theme reflecting side effects. Our exploratory qualitative data was consistent with the significant quantitative results revealed in the study and provides additional support to suggest the trial results did not exclude any important positive or negative effects (at least as experienced by the trial participants).

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ID Code: 37750
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Kava, Piper Methysticum, Herbal Medicine, Anxiety, Depression, Qualitative Research
ISSN: 1033-8330
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE (110400) > Complementary and Alternative Medicine not elsewhere classified (110499)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 National Herbalists Association of Australia
Deposited On: 06 Oct 2010 21:21
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:14

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