Association Between Khat (Catha edulis) Chewing and Infection with Helicobacter pylori: A Case Control Study in Nairobi County

  • MA Hassan
  • K Mohamed
  • N Zipporah
  • L Hudson


Background: Khat (Catha edulis) is a psycho-stimulant substance grown and widely chewed in East Africa. The use of Khat leads to a number of health complications however its adverse effects and prevalence are not well studied.
Objective: To compare the prevalence of Khat chewing among H. Pylori infected cases and controls.
Design: Individual matched case control study
Setting: KEMRI’s Centre for Clinical Research (CCR) and St. Michael’s Digestive Disease and Medical Care.
Subjects: Ninety three cases were selected using Rome III criteria for functional dyspepsia, and the controls (n=93) were matched on age and gender.
Results: Khat Chewing was associated with infection with H. Pylori. Of the 93 cases, 58.1% were H. Pylori positive with a majority being Khat chewers 67.2% (41/61) and 32.8% (20/61) non-Khat chewers; the two groups were significantly different (p-value=0.007). Functional dyspepsia was associated with H. Pylori. Therefore, participants with functional dyspepsia were twice more likely of being diagnosed with H. Pylori (OR 2.1, 95% CI: 1.2,3.9).
Conclusion: The prevalence of H. Pylori infection was found to be higher among khat chewers, indicating that Khat chewing could be a predisposing factor to H. Pylori infection and to gastrointestinal disorders. Community-based awareness creation about the adverse effect of Khat use is thus recommended.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0012-835X