rss
BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-008381
  • CASE REPORT

Phenibut dependence

  1. Jürgen Rehm1,2,3,4
  1. 1Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Klinische Psychologie & Psychotherapie, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andriy V Samokhvalov, avsamokhvalov{at}yahoo.ca

Summary

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.

Register for free content

The full text of all Editor's Choice articles and summaries of every article are free without registration

The full text of Images in ... articles are free to registered users

Only fellows can access the full text of case reports (apart from Editor's Choice) - become a fellow today, or encourage your institution to, so that together we can grow and develop this resource

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the case reports as they are published, and let us know what you think by commenting on the Editor's blog

Navigate This Article