Treating Anxiety


Anchor lead: An online supplement called phenibut may not be your best choice if you’re feeling anxious, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Phenibut is a drug originally developed in Russia that’s used as a sedative, and it can be obtained legally online since it is sold as a supplement. Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert and psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, says caveat emptor. Phenibut is chemically very similar to a class of prescription medications.

Strain: Benzodiazepines are medicines that are used for anxiety and sleep, and that seems to be where people are primarily using phenibut. I would not be surprised if people are trying if for those purposes but just like benzodiazepines I’d be very worried about medication interactions, using too much, and I don’t know, could people become dependent on it. It’s also important to make sure that there isn’t some other medical condition going on that might be causing a person to feel more anxious, or might be contributing to their sleep problems.  :32

The CDC has reported many more adverse events related to phenibut in recent months, including deaths. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.