There is an unfortunate and sometimes dangerous misconception that because something is legal or marketed as a supplement that it’s inherently safe. One such supplement is phenibut. Phenibut is a powerful substance that acts as a GABA analog in the brain of people who use it. When someone uses phenibut, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and has a calming, relaxing effect. In the U.S. and throughout most of Europe, phenibut is an uncontrolled and unregulated substance, purchased online without a prescription.
By contrast, in Russia, Ukraine and some other countries, phenibut is available only by prescription. In Russia and other places where phenibut is a prescription medication, it’s used to treat anxiety, insomnia, PTSD and other similar conditions. Since phenibut is unregulated in the U.S., there are no standardized dosage specifications. There are also no ways for doctors to make sure people are safe when they’re using phenibut, and this increases the risk of things like an overdose. Some of the phenibut brand names used to market this product include Fenibut, Noofen and Anvifen. Phenibut is similar to certain kinds of drugs, such as gabapentin.
Phenibut works on GABA receptors in the brain, activating them in a way similar to benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax. Phenibut calms neural activity, creating a sense of relaxation and reducing anxiety in people who take it. People who use phenibut report that they are more social in many cases, and they have fewer negative thoughts. Phenibut can also cause euphoria when it’s used recreationally. Possible side effects of phenibut may include nausea, vomiting, sedation, irritability, anxiety, headache and sedation.
When people use higher doses of phenibut, they may also experience coordination impairment and balance problems, as well as a hangover effect. Other reported physical effects of phenibut include muscle relaxation, increased libido, pain relief, stomach cramps, dehydration, muscle cramps and increased blood pressure. Other effects of phenibut can include hallucinations, disinhibition, increased motivation and feelings of affection toward other people. Physical effects that can occur after phenibut wears off include anxiety, fatigue, depression and depersonalization.
Phenibut can take a while to start working. It can take an hour or more for the effects of phenibut to be felt. This can lead people to take more, thinking the first dose didn’t work. This increases the risk of toxicity or overdose, so that’s important to be aware of with the use of phenibut. The peak effects of phenibut can take four to six hours to appear when it’s taken orally, although the effects are felt on average around two hours after it’s taken. The average half-life of phenibut is around 5.3 hours.
There are specific reasons it’s important to know how long phenibut stays in your system. The most important is to time withdrawal symptoms. Phenibut withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and knowing the half-life and elimination time of the drug can help people who are tapering down their dosage. With phenibut, the primary factor that influences how long it stays in your system is the dosage used. Also relevant are individual tolerance for phenibut, the strength of the dose taken and the metabolism of a person. Older people tend to excrete drugs more slowly than younger people, and certain health conditions can factor into how long it takes for someone’s system to eliminate substances.
Another question people might have about phenibut is whether or not it would show up on a drug test such as a urine, hair or blood test. Phenibut isn’t going to show up in standard drug panels looking for illicit drugs or controlled prescription medications. First, phenibut isn’t a controlled substance, and it’s not illegal to possess or use in the U.S., so there wouldn’t be any reason for it to be screened for on a drug test. It also doesn’t leave behind metabolites of drugs that are screened for. The total elimination time for phenibut, based on an average half-life of just over 5 hours is typically around 26 hours. This can be longer based on the individual factors named above, as well as if someone has been taking phenibut for a long time and it’s built up in their system.
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Phenibut for Opiate Withdrawal
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.