Kratom-Induced Cholestatic Liver Injury Mimicking Anti-Mitochondrial Antibody-Negative Primary Biliary Cholangitis: A Case Report and Review of Literature

Mahmoud Aldyab, Peter F. Ells, Rosa Bui, Timothy D. Chapman, Hwajeong Lee


Kratom is an herbal supplement used to relieve chronic pain or opioid withdrawal symptoms. Recent news articles covering adverse effects associated with kratom use have brought attention to its organ toxicities. Reports of kratom-induced hepatic toxicity are limited and only three case reports of kratom-induced liver injury with histopathologic examination of the liver biopsies are available. A 40-year-old female presented with symptoms of mixed cholestatic and hepatocellular liver injury without clear etiology. The laboratory and imaging workup suggested possibilities of autoimmune hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis-primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) overlap syndrome, or drug-induced liver injury. Autoantibodies including anti-mitochondrial antibody (AMA) were negative. Liver biopsy showed granulomatous hepatitis with prominent duct injury, suggestive of AMA-negative PBC. She subsequently was referred to a hepatologist and a history of recent kratom use was finally revealed. Kratom was discontinued and the symptoms improved. Kratom-induced hepatic toxicity may manifest with variable biochemical and clinical abnormalities. Histologically, it may mimic AMA-negative PBC. Our case highlights the importance of thorough history taking, interdisciplinary approach and communication for optimal patient care.

Gastroenterol Res. 2019;12(4):211-215


Kratom; Cholestasis; Liver; Biopsy; Granuloma

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