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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2019 Mar 9;21(4):23. doi: 10.1007/s11920-019-1009-0.

Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-Aminobutyric Acid): an Easily Obtainable "Dietary Supplement" With Propensities for Physical Dependence and Addiction.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. ejouney@med.umich.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Phenibut (β-phenyl-γ-aminobutyric acid) is a psychoactive GABA analogue currently being marketed online as an anxiolytic and nootropic dietary supplement. Its use is growing in popularity, but its pharmacological activity is well beyond that of a conventional nutritional supplement, and similar to that of a prescription strength sedative. This review will focus on the potential adversities of phenibut use and will discuss what treatment options may be beneficial to afflicted patients.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Over the last several years, multiple case reports have highlighted phenibut's potential to produce the conditions of physical dependence, withdrawal, and addiction. In cases involving intoxication, patients have presented with a varying degree of mental status changes, from being minimally responsive to manifesting symptoms of an agitated delirium. Phenibut is a potent psychoactive substance with GABAB agonist properties, which is emerging as a drug of misuse through growing internet sales. Its marketing as a "dietary supplement" is inaccurate and misleading, given its pharmacological profile and ability to induce the physiological changes associated with withdrawal and physical dependence.

KEYWORDS:

Baclofen; Dietary supplement; GABAB agonist; New psychoactive substance; Nootropic; Phenibut

PMID:
30852710
DOI:
10.1007/s11920-019-1009-0

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