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What Is Phenibut and What Is It Used For?

a doctor prescribes phenibut to help a patient in his care

Chances are, if you live in America, phenibut is not a substance you have heard of before. It was developed in Russia in the 1960s and remains common for treating anxiety, insomnia, and depression. It has never achieved FDA approval and thus is not available in the US as a prescription medication. Still, it has gained some traction stateside as a nootropic and is marketed as a dietary supplement.

Phenibut is a central nervous system depressant and is a synthetic offshoot of GABA. Common brand names for phenibut include Adrafinil, Anvifen, Fenibut, and Noofen. Call Serenity Grove at 844.904.3485 to learn more about addiction treatment near you.

What Is Phenibut?

Phenibut is a nootropic supplement. When something is referred to as nootropic, that simply means it is supposed to have a positive effect on mental functioning. The more common vernacular for nootropics is “smart pills.” These are the kind of things that people peddle in as-seen-on-TV commercials and Youtube channels. The veracity of claims surrounding trendy nootropics rarely holds up to scrutiny.

In the case of phenibut, it has been used in Russia since the 1960s as a treatment for anxiety and sleep issues. However, the FDA has not approved phenibut for similar medical use here. The range of what phenibut is used for in Russia will be explored in more detail in the following section. It is worth noting clearly that phenibut is not recommended for any use in the United States as medical research has yet to verify its utility in treating any medical condition.

What Is Phenibut Used For?

Phenibut continues to see widespread use in Russia for a whole host of things. Some of the most common treatment applications are:

  • Alcoholism
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Without regulation or clinical studies, phenibut is not marketed, prescribed, or sold for these uses in the United States. Instead, distributors have put the “smart pill” label on phenibut here. Phenibut marketers claim it will make you euphoric, relieve social anxiety, and increase your sociability. No evidence exists to back up these lofty claims.

So is phenibut safe? Even if research does not support the claims strategic marketers make about phenibut, it is understandable to want to take a supplement that could boost mental acuity and make socializing easier. If there’s no downside, the harm is just a few dollars for some pills, you might think. The problem here is that the safety of phenibut remains a gray area. Not enough research has been conducted, even in places where it is commonly prescribed, to say for certain whether or not phenibut is safe to use.

Does Phenibut Have Side Effects?

It is possible that taking phenibut will produce the promised mental boost. At the same time, phenibut can also cause some side effects. None are too worrisome or serious, but they do appear in users from time to time. The most common side effects stemming from phenibut are agitation, headache, dizziness, and fatigue. High doses of phenibut can also cause impaired coordination.

A few more warnings regarding phenibut use are in order. First, since phenibut is a central nervous system depressant, it is not safe to operate heavy machinery while taking phenibut. Another thing that could be dangerous is using phenibut in tandem with opioids or alcohol. This is because they are all central nervous system depressants. Layering one on top of the other amplifies their effects in negative, potentially harmful ways. One possible outcome of combining the use of these substances is overdose and even death.

Find Addiction Help at Serenity Grove

Serenity Grove is an expert in the addiction treatment field. Find help with substance abuse and addiction by calling 844.904.3485. You can also fill out our online contact form and let us get back to you.