Effect of Khat (Catha edulis Forsk) on Neurobehavioral Functions: Systematic review and Meta analysis

Birhane Berihu
2015 International Journal of Pharma Sciences and Research (IJPSR)   unpublished
Khat (Catha edulis forks, family: celastraceae) is a plant grown in East-Africa and the south west of the Arabian Peninsula. People uses for its pleasant stimulant effect of physical activity, consciousness, motor and mental functions as well as its anti-fatigue action. Although there is a rich body of research available regarding the effect of acute and chronic khat dosing in animal models, research on the behavioral and cognitive effects of khat in human subjects is not extensive and several
more » ... ensive and several of the available studies have been done only in the context of observational and single-case studies. Objective: To determine the level of evidence of toxicity of Khat (Catha edulis Forsk) on Neurobehavioral Functions. Methods: Key words representing major broad subject areas including: Khat, learning memory, working memory, cognitive flexibility, motor activities and other psychological disorders were used to search in the electronic databases. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and Cross sectional study investigating the effect of khat on neurobehavioral were included. Studies involving human participants reporting behavioral change and the experimental animal models were included in the present systemic review. Meta analysis was conducted to examine the effect of khat on neurobehavioral functions. Quality assessment was performed using the PEDro scale with subsequent data extraction. Result: Out of the 260 studies, eight studies met inclusion criteria for this review. Of these, four studies were included in the meta-analysis. Meta-analysis results suggested that there were significant difference between khat exposed and control group for the neurobehavioral changes. The Pedro score was 6, meeting the cut off score for high quality. Conclusion: Although a number of studies regarding the current topic is limited, there is the high quality of evidenced that khat (Catha edulis) induced neurobehavioral changes. Introduction Khat (Catha edulis, family: Celastraceae) is a plant grown in East-Africa (mainly in Somalia, Kenya, Djibuti, Yemen and Ethiopia) and the south west of the Arabian Peninsula. In these countries the chewing of khat is very common; it is consumed as qat and kat in Yemen; chat in Ethiopia; miraa, kijiti, gomba, mbachu or veve in Kenya; and as mairungi in Uganda [1]. Khat is chewed habitually by users for its euphoric effects and as a recreational drug [2, 4]. The psychostimulant component of the khat is cathinone, which is released within 15-45 minutes during chewing [3, 9]. Recent reports indicate that 80-90% of East African males and 10-60% of the East African females use khat on a daily basis [10, 11, 12, 13]. In Ethiopia, recent estimates of prevalence approach 50%, with 17% self-described as daily users, predominantly men [7]. Interestingly, there is evidence to suggest that the gender differences in the khat use disappear in Western countries. A recent survey conducted in London, UK, showed that 78% of men and 76% of women of Somali background had used khat, with 76% of participants reporting using more khat in London than they had in Somalia [13]. Users of khat report feeling as if they are able to think more clearly and more quickly while chewing khat. Other self-reported the acute effects of khat include increased levels of alertness, enhanced ability to concentrate, friendliness, contentment and flow of ideas. This is usually followed by excessive tension, anxiety, emotional instability, irritability, and restlessness within 2 hours, followed by feelings of low mood, numbness, lack of concentration, sluggishness, Birhane Alem Berihu et al.