Anchor lead: A supplement sold for anxiety should be avoided, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Phenibut is a drug legally sold as a supplement online that is resulting in many more calls to poison control centers, hospitalizations and deaths recently, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal. Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert and psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, is alarmed.

Strain: Like anything that is untested I would be very cautious about using phenibut. I would be concerned about the purity and the source of it and the potential for interaction with other medications and for things like alcohol. It’s a GABA agent and GABA agents generally produce decreases in anxiety, it can be helpful for sleep, the big category of medicines that we think about when we think of GABA agents are benzodiazepines.  :30

GABA is short for gamma-aminobutyric acid, a chemical used by nerve cells to communicate with one another. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey