[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phenibut is a γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonist designed and used as an anxiolytic in Russia. In Western countries, phenibut is not a registered medication but is available through online stores as a supplement. We present a case of a patient who used phenibut to self-medicate anxiety, insomnia and cravings for alcohol. While phenibut was helpful initially, the patient developed dependence including tolerance, significant withdrawal symptoms within 3-4 h of last use and failure to fulfil his roles at work and at home. He finally sought medical assistance in our addictions clinic. We have gradually, over the course of 9 weeks, substituted phenibut with baclofen, which has similar pharmacological properties, and then successfully tapered the patient off baclofen. This required approximately 10 mg of baclofen for each gram of phenibut.
Case Reports 02/2013; 2013. DOI:10.1136/bcr-2012-008381
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Phenibut is a GABAB agonist that was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1960s. In Russia, it is used in clinical practice to treat, for example, anxiety and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. In Europe and in the United States, phenibut is marketed as a nutritional supplement for improved sleep. In different Internet discussion forums, there are several reports of withdrawal symptoms. Aim: Our aim was to share what we have learnt from a case study wherein a patient was followed throughout the whole abstinence period.
Case report: A somatically healthy man in his mid-20s with a previous history of substance abuse took phenibut for 2 months. He noted tolerance development already after the first week and increased doses up to 20 g/day. Already a few hours after the last dose the patient started to experience subjective symptoms, at the third day of abstinence the patient started to hallucinate and the following day’s symptoms were aggravated with increased hallucinations and confusion. After treatment with benzodiazepines the psychosis resolved.
Conclusion: Phenibut withdrawal symptoms can become severe and have similarities to Baclofen, GHB, benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines and supportive care seems to be the most effective choice of treatment for objective abstinence symptoms.
Journal of Substance Use 06/2013; 18(4). DOI:10.3109/14659891.2012.668261 · 0.48 Impact Factor
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