Phenibut and it’s Side Effects



Phenibut is a pharmaceutical drug related to nootropics that activate brain functions. The active ingredient is γ-amino-β-phenylbutyric acid hydrochloride. Nootropics confer brain neurons resistance to stress, damage, toxic substances, oxygen deficiency and revitalize brain functions (learning, memorizing, cognitive functions).

Phenibut is known for its effect that simultaneously activates and soothes the brain, relieves anxiety, improves sleep, helps to cope with nervousness-related illnesses.

Indications for use

Phenibut administration course can be prescribed in the following cases:

  • weakness and asthenia – poor performance capability
  • neuroses accompanied with fears and increased anxiety
  • sleep disorders and night terrors (usually applicable to elderly patients)
  • tics, stuttering, nocturnal incontinence (usually applicable to children)
  • elevated intraocular pressure – glaucoma (in certain cases)
  • motor dysfunction, vestibular system disorders, including Meniere’s disease
  • nausea (seasickness) – prevention of motion sickness
  • after head injuries and strokes – restoration of neurons
  • vegetative disorders, including vegetovascular dystonia
  • preparation of patients for painful surgery
  • treatment of alcoholism and hangovers (as part of a combination of drugs)
  • epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease in certain cases (use with caution)


Phenibut relates to low-toxic medication and as a consequence, the main cause of contraindications is an increased sensitivity of a human body to the components of the drug. The medication is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation, as well as children under 2 years. Stuttering therapy of children under 10 years using Phenibut may lead to speech worsening. Phenibut should be prescribed with extreme caution at this age.

Furthermore, Phenibut should not be used by patients with erosive-ulcerative gastrointestinal lesions. Abnormal liver function is a contraindication for administration of Phenibut. Moreover, long-term administration of the medication may trigger this disorder.

Course of administration and tolerance to Phenibut

The duration of Phenibut administration should be determined by the attending physician on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the purpose of the therapy, the form of drug administration may vary from a one-time per day intake before bedtime to a monthly course.

General doctors’ recommendation for the duration of Phenibut administration is 2, 3 or 4 weeks. Phenibut concentration in the blood drops by half in 6-8 hours. Therefore, the medication should be taken 3 times a day to maintain its constant concentration.

Phenibut does not belong to substances that provoke drug dependence. However, patients are reasonably worried about whether Phenibut develops tolerance. Significant improvement of patient’s emotional state and simplicity in achieving the effect may lead to psychological dependence.

In case of drug administration for more than 6 weeks, γ-amino-β-phenylbutyric acid hydrochloride becomes a normal part of patient’s metabolism. Quitting the course in such a situation may lead to a “withdrawal syndrome” when patient’s condition may worsen compared to the pre-course level. Instead of abrupt quitting of the “protracted” course, gradual reduction of the medication dosage within two weeks in combination with physical activity and psychotherapy is recommended.

Side effects and symptoms of an overdose

At the beginning of administration Phenibut can provoke certain conditions which are intended to be fought with: increased irritability, anxiety, migraine, drowsiness, as well as dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Such symptoms vanish in a short while.

In rare cases there may be some side effects which are mainly represented by drowsiness, allergies, migraines and irritability. If such states remain for a prolonged period of time, you should consult a doctor.

Excess of a daily dose of Phenibut may cause an overdose. Intensification of all side effects is its possible symptom. Pronounced drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, oppression (depression) of consciousness are signals of overdose. Subsequent development of fatty liver dystrophy (disease, syndrome), hepatic and renal (kidney) insufficiency (failure) is possible.

First aid measures in case of Phenibut overdose include: perform gastric lavage, induce vomiting and then take activated charcoal or another absorbent. Consult a doctor – symptomatic therapy is recommended in case of an overdose. Phenibut has no specialised antidotes.

Phenibut overdose does not lead to lethal outcome due to non-toxicity of the medication. However, the overdose effects can provoke dangerous situations, such as getting asleep while driving (drowsy driving).

Phenibut and alcohol

Doctors strongly recommend to refrain from drinking alcohol during the Phenibut course due to unpredictable and often dangerous reactions of a human body. Patients who combine alcohol and Phenibut may get a potentiated effect of alcohol or, conversely, a reduction of alcoholic intoxication.

Sense of euphoria, clear consciousness and absence of an alcoholic hangover, being the accidental results of a Phenibut and alcohol mixture, may create a dangerous temptation to use this combination again.

Most often, alcohol significantly increases (potentiates) the sedative effect of Phenibut up to loss of sensitivity. In such a state a person may probably not notice pain impulses that usually would cause anxiety (concern).

In addition, not only can Phenibut save from a heavy hangover the next morning, but, on the contrary, it can also intensify it. Due to the similarity of Phenibut and alcohol metabolism there is a kind of a “competition” between the active substances, the results of which are unpredictable.

At the same time, Phenibut is often used for treatment of alcoholic hangovers and alcoholism. The medication is not effective for acute phases of hangovers, but it allows you to relieve anxiety by the evening of the hangover day. In course of dipsomania (drinking bout) termination Phenibut helps to compensate the decreased sensitivity of GABA receptors, get rid of patient’s anxiety and trouble sleeping.

Phenibut is a nootropic substance that was developed in the Soviet Union to be used in a cosmonauts (spacemen) first aid kit. Currently, this is one of the most effective and safe medicinal drugs intended for treatment of trouble sleeping, anxiety, apathy and other disorders. Precautions during Phenibut administration are simple: do not exceed recommended dose and do not take for more than 3-6 weeks depending on your age, weight and personal sensitivity.

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