Feeling Anxious


Anchor lead: There are ways to manage anxiety that are less risky than phenibut, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Phenibut is a sedative that’s being sold online as a supplement, and it’s increasingly involved in calls to poison control centers, ED visits and deaths, CDC data show. Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert and psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, says if you’re feeling anxious there are other possibilities.

Strain: There are self help sorts of things that aren’t medication that people can find on the web, for difficulties with sleep or for managing low grade anxiety. You can search those and try those. You should also engage in a discussion with your primary care physician if you’re having sleep difficulties or you’re having anxiety that’s become a problem for you. There are medicines that are approved to help people sleep or to help deal with anxiety, especially if it’s become overwhelming.  :30

Strain notes that much is not known about phenibut, but most of the callers to poison control centers are in the 18-34 age range, three-quarters of whom were men. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.