Chronic Khat (Catha edulis) Ingestion as a Possible Triggering Agent in the Development of Autoimmune Hepatitis

John Samies, Sanjeev Slehria, Xiao-Lan Chen, Satyanarayana Vaidya, Nafisa Saleem


We describe the case of a 34-year-old immigrant male from Yemen who presented with liver dysfunction secondary to chronic ingestion of khat, a commonly abused plant found in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The clinical features of this case, in combination with the diagnostic labs, were consistent with a presentation of a khat-induced hepatotoxicity in the form of an advanced autoimmune process. Khat has already been identified in recent literature and case reports to be a hepatotoxic environmental agent, and new literature has now recognized an increased association between khat consumption and the development of autoimmune hepatitis, although no specific mechanism for triggering an autoimmune response has been elucidated. Our patient exhibited biochemical, immunological, and histopathological features of autoimmune hepatitis, which we believe may have precipitated from the patients chronic khat drug consumption.

J Med Cases. 2016;7(11):471-474


Khat; Khat-induced; Hepatotoxic; Autoimmune hepatitis; Yemen

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