FDA Nixed Kavinace Ultra PM! What’s The Best Alternative?

FDA examines Kavinace capsules

Disclaimer: This post reflects my own personal opinion. I do not represent, nor am I affiliated with NeuroScience: the manufacturer of Kavinace.

What a funny business the supplement industry is! It is dominated by highly hyped, useless, scammy products… and when you finally manage to find one that actually works for you, chances are it will soon be discontinued, reformulated or cracked down on by some three-letter agency!

Yep, the FDA has recently sent out a warning letter to NeuroScience about their product Kavinace (Ultra PM). The letter asserts that one of the ingredients the supplement contains — 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid HCl (aka phenibut) — does not fit the FDA’s definition of a dietary ingredient and thus cannot be sold in over-the-counter dietary supplements.

So that means the manufacturer (NeuroScience) will have to remove this ingredient from Kavinace (Ultra PM) to comply with the FDA request, and it seems that they’ve already stopped making this product.

Most online stores that used to sell Kavinace and Kavinace Ultra PM are now out of stock of these two supplements. It is not clear if the manufacturer decided to permanently discontinue this product or maybe they will reformulate it and relaunch it.

No Phenibut = Not Cool!

Unfortunately, without phenibut, Kavinace (Ultra PM) will never be the same product with the same remarkable effect that many consumers loved. You can still find the other ingredients at many supplement stores, but it was really phenibut that made this supplement so unique and powerful.

If NeuroScience decide to continue producing Kavinace with a different formula, then whatever other ingredients they add, it just won’t have the same relaxing and calming effect that phenibut provides.

So, what’s the best alternative to Kavinace Ultra PM? You simply just buy the same ingredients separately! You don’t need to search for a replacement product with different ingredients if you already know what works for you.

As I said, the other two ingredients (Melatonin and 5-HTP) are widely available at Amazon and many other stores at very low prices compared to Kavinace’s premium price point. The star ingredient, phenibut, is also quite cheap, but a little trickier to source.

Where to Get Phenibut?

Phenibut is actually more of a drug than a dietary supplement. In some countries, most prominently Russia, phenibut is an approved medicine that is sold under the brand name Noofen and others.

In the USA, this is neither an approved drug nor a dietary supplement. But it’s also not a scheduled or controlled substance, which means it can still be legally sold and bought over the counter, as long as it is not sold as a treatment.

In fact, phenibut is one of the most popular nootropics (or cognitive enhancers) that are purchased online by consumers in the USA, Europe and other countries.

There are many nootropics vendors that sell generic phenibut either as pure powder or in capsules. One of the most reputable US-based stores that sell phenibut is Nootropics Depot. They offer excellent service and they have top-notch quality control compared to other sellers in this arena.

Before You Buy Phenibut

Phenibut is basically a synthetic derivative of a naturally occurring amino acid called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). In the human body, GABA has many functions and it is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.

You can buy GABA on its own as a dietary supplement, but since this compound has a limited ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, it won’t have a very significant calming effect on your brain, although some personal experiences seem to contradict this theory.

Phenibut, on the other hand, is a phenylated analog of GABA, and with the addition of a phenyl ring to the molecule, phenibut is efficiently able to cross the blood-brain barrier and has a more profound effect.

But that also means you must be very careful when dosing phenibut. Your body sees phenibut as GABA, and it acts like it, so when you take phenibut it artificially increases GABA levels in your brain. The natural response of the body will be to produce less GABA of its own.

Taking high doses of phenibut repeatedly will cause your body to get used to being fed GABA instead of making it. And then if you suddenly stop taking phenibut, it will take some time for your body to restore its normal GABA production, and during this period you will suffer from many unpleasant consequences of having very low GABA levels in your brain, aka withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, agitation, depression, brain fog, and others.

Your body can also quickly build up tolerance to phenibut if taken very frequently, which means you can easily enter a spiral of constantly having to increase your dose to get a noticeable effect.

Because of its tendency to cause dependence/addiction, phenibut does have a higher abuse potential than most other nootropics, and so should be used very wisely and moderately. Think of it as alcohol — if you abuse it, you’ll get hooked to it and then you’ll have a hard time getting off.

Phenibut Dosage Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines for taking phenibut responsibly:

  • The normal dosage ranges from 250mg to 750mg a day.
  • Start with a 250mg dose once or twice a day.
  • Do not take more than 1,000mg (1g) in a single day.
  • To avoid tolerance build-up, it is recommended not to take phenibut every day. Try to take it 2-3 times a week or less.
  • When you decide to stop taking phenibut, you should gradually decrease your dose (taper off) for a few weeks to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This is especially recommended for users who take it on a daily basis.
  • Everyone’s body is different. If you used to take Kavinace Ultra PM every day without a problem, then it’ll probably be fine if you take a small dose of phenibut every day. Since Kavinace is a proprietary formula, the exact amount of phenibut per capsule is unknown, but it seems to be about 500mg or a little less.

Another Replacement

Sleep Time is a dietary supplement by Nutritional Frontiers that is very similar to Kavinace Ultra PM. It contains the same ingredients, including phenibut, and a few additional ones.

Sleep Time by Nutritional Frontiers

The following is a list of the active ingredients in Sleep Time by Nutritional Frontiers (dosage shown is per one serving or 2 capsules):

  • Vitamin B6 [10mg]
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) [10mg]
  • 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid (phenibut) [500mg]
  • L-Taurine [500mg]
  • Glycine [500mg]
  • 5-HTP [50mg]
  • Melatonin [3mg]

The four additional ingredients in this supplement (two vitamins and two amino acids) are all natural and generally considered to be safe. L-taurine is an amino acid that is used to improve mental performance and reduce fatigue. Glycine is an amino acid that is used to improve sleep quality.

One bottle of Sleep Time costs about $70 and contains 120 vegetarian capsules or 60 servings. You can buy it from PureFormulas.

UPDATE: This supplement has also been discontinued and will be reformulated without phenibut. Dietary supplements that contain phenibut are doomed following the FDA crackdown. You can still buy phenibut on its own from nootropics vendors, or consider natural non-addictive alternatives.

The following are three recommended natural formulas that can be used in place of Kavinace:

16 Replies to “FDA Nixed Kavinace Ultra PM! What’s The Best Alternative?

  1. I have taken Kavinace for 2-3 years without the PM as it made me groggy in the morning. Instead I would take the Kavinace with 1mg of melatonin and sometimes lately I have also taken one during day without the melatonin for well being during the day. Do you know of any supplement without the melatonin but with the phenibut?

    1. Hey peggy,

      Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any other recommendable sleep supplements that contain phenibut without melatonin.

      In fact, there aren’t that many pre-formulated dietary supplements that contain phenibut, and most manufacturers are now shying away from this ingredient, thanks to recent FDA crackdown!

      If phenibut is what’s working for you, then you can buy it separately from nootropics vendors; Nootropics Depot and LiftMode are two of the most reputable vendors that carry phenibut. But please use it moderately and carefully (more info in the post above.)

      The other two ingredients in “Kavinace” (vitamin B6 and Taurine) can also be bought separately from many sellers on Amazon and other stores, but you probably just need phenibut.

  2. Thank you so much for your article. When Kavinace PM was being discontinued I was able to buy a few months worth. I finished the bottle a couple of days ago. Last night I was waking up throughout the night with horrible anxiety. It never dawned on me that it was withdrawal. Question: Why is Sleep Time allowed to stay on the market and not Kavinace PM?

    1. Hey Donna,

      Yeah, most consumers are not aware that phenibut (4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid) can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Most manufacturers don’t mention anything about this either.

      As for Sleep Time by Nutritional Frontiers, I’ve heard the manufacturer has already stopped making it and is working on a new formula (without phenibut). They are probably just clearing what’s left of the current formula before releasing the new one.

      Other supplement brands that contain phenibut will probably follow suit and remove it from their products, and many have already done so.

      The FDA did not “ban” phenibut, but they decided it is not allowed as an ingredient in dietary supplements. There are numerous US-based vendors that sell it as a nootropic compound or research chemical.

      It is sad because phenibut is such an effective anxiolytic that has helped many people combat anxiety and sleep better.

      I think many consumers would be more grateful if the FDA required manufacturers to provide appropriate instructions, precautions and warnings for dietary supplements that contain phenibut, instead of dropping the hammer on it!

      1. Dear Morris,
        Thank you for your reply. I have now been a week without the Kavinace PM and still struggling. I hate the idea of being addicted to something but not sleeping is horrible. I can’t function. I will have to figure it out. Thx again. You are a great resource and I appreciate your response.

        1. You’re welcome, Donna!

          You may find the following subreddit helpful: https://www.reddit.com/r/quittingphenibut/ — It is dedicated to people quitting phenibut, but please note that many users there are heavy abusers who take several times the recommended maximum daily dosage, so many of the symptoms (and solutions) discussed may not apply to normal users.

          There are numerous natural/herbal formulas for anxiety and sleep that you may consider as a replacement, particularly those containing GABA and L-theanine, but nothing natural is going to be as potent as phenibut.

          If your symptoms continue, it’s better to consult your doctor. Good luck!

  3. I have only found success with Kavinance Ultra Pm for five years without fail. This makes me so anxious to think I may not find something equivalent. This article was VERY informative and so much appreciated. I just ordered the product from the site recommended above for Phenibut. I will combine it with regular Kavinance and pray something positive results for me to sleep as well as I did on the Ultra PM.
    It would be nice if the FDA worries more about the preservatives on our cereal and food, and make necessary restrictions like Europe and other countries….but there is no money to be made if people are “well and healthy”. Big Pharmaceutical and the FDA are crooks. Period.

  4. Aloha Morris, I have been taking 2 capsules of kavinace or kavinace ultra pm (depending on my need) every night for the better part of 7 years. I had no idea I was addicted until I read your article. I’ve been off of both kavinace products for over a week and have not slept, have headaches, anxiety and feeling very irritable. I’ve taken your suggestion and ordered phenibut from Nootropics depot and am waiting for it to arrive. Are there any negatives besides the addiction (weird I even said that) that I need to be concerned about. I know synthetics can often have repercussions.

    1. Hey Trudi,

      Please note that since phenibut hasn’t been studied or approved for medical use in Western countries, most of the information about its efficacy and safety comes from personal user experiences and the few clinical studies available (mostly from Russia).

      It is believed that phenibut, when taken at standard dosages, is generally safe. Besides the risk of developing tolerance and dependence, no major side effects have been associated with normal use.

      However, I have seen reports of minor adverse effects, such as headache, tiredness, dizziness, brain fog, and even sleeplessness in some users!

      When taken in high doses (more than 2 grams a day), phenibut can become quite risky. Many people abuse this substance by taking 10-20 grams a day. At excessively high dosages, there have been cases of extreme sedation, impairment of cognitive functions and even unconsciousness. Check out this recent case report: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662439/

      As with any other psychoactive substance, phenibut should be used with caution, and you should not take it with alcohol or any other sedative or depressant substance. Not much is really known about its long-term side effects on the brain.

      If other natural substances work for you (melatonin, l-theanine, 5-HTP, glycine, etc.) then you should stick with those. But if you must take phenibut, then take it moderately and only when necessary.

      I hope this helps!

  5. Hey Morris,
    I greatly appreciate this information! I’ve taken Kavinace and PheniTropic for about 10 years for inability to fall asleep and thought I was doomed to follow in the footsteps of 2 of my brothers in having to take Seroquel. Thanks so much! The Lord bless you.

  6. I took Kavinace Ultra PM 1 nightly for at least 3 years. Like others I recently ran out and am trying Insomnitol with pharmaGaba, L-theanine, 5-HTP and 3 mg melatonin but it’s not working. 6 days in I’m definitely withdrawing. Just got Phenibut in mail today but don’t know how to dose to slowly bring me down. 250/d or go higher? You mentioned 10% less every 2 wks I believe. That’s going to be tough to titrate with 250 mg capsules. I’m taking Rhodiola, Mg and Camomile but feel jittery, palpitations, can’t sleep through the night, occipital headache and tired with reduced appetite. Tough to function. Any further advice to step down? Thanks so much!

    1. Hello Liz,

      There is no official or scientific information on tapering off phenibut, so it’s mostly anecdotal recommendations based on varying personal experiences.

      One capsule of Kavinace Ultra PM contained about 500mg phenibut. I’d suggest you do a slow taper by decreasing the dose by 50mg per week (450mg 1st week, 400mg 2nd week, etc.)

      It’d be easier to use the powder and a digital milligram scale for this purpose, but since you’ve already bought the capsules you can simply empty the content of one 250mg capsule, divide it into five equal portions each of which should be roughly 50mg.

      If this doesn’t work then it’s better to consult a professional.

      1. Thank you so much! It really helps to have some guidance and avenues to taper off. Here’s to better nights and fewer daytime symptoms soon.

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