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Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  MD Psychiatry
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Ive been doing some research lately on anxiety and the use

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I've been doing some research lately on anxiety and the use of amino acids. I'm currently taking Cymbalta and looking to stop taking it. Is GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) fairly equivalent?

Hi there ,


Welcome to Just answer !


can you please re frame your question , as gaba is a neurotransmitter , and not a drug , so kindly specify , what alternative drug in place of cymbalta do you have in your mind ?



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I'm referring to the supplement GABA that is sold in vitamin stores. Another I've found information on is L-Theanine.

Well, the basis on which GABA supplements are used in cases of anxiety is that low levels of GABA in the brain , can lead to anxiety , so by supplementing it by use of GABA supplements , we compensate the deficit of GABA , THEREBY RELIEVING ANXIETY , but having said that , i may also tell you that drugs like anti depressants -- such as cymbalta and benzodiazepines , they work in anxiety because they act on the GABA receptors in the brain , and modulate the GABA receptors in such a way that more GABA neurotransmitters are pumped into the nervous system , thereby compensating the deficit .


So, anti depressants and anti anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines such as klonopin and ativan are still the best and the first line drugs for treating anxiety , GABA supplements can only asist them to help counter anxiety , but their efficacy as a monotherapy to treat anxiety is still not used in practice as it is not that effective.


As FAR as L- theanine is concerned , it is an ingredient of green tea , and it is shown in some studies it causes relaxation and reduces anxiety to some extent , but still it has not been approved as a treatment of anxiety , although there is no harm in taking it with GABA supplements to assist your main line of treatment , that has to be either an anti depressant or anti anxiety drug or a combination of both.


So, if you are not tolerating Cymbalta that well then you shall opt for another anti depressant such as Prozac or paxil CR or effexor XR , or for that matter opt for an anti anxiety drug such as klonopin or buspar or ativan , there are plenty of options for you to choose from.And , you may take green tea ( L- theanine ) and gaba supplements to assist the chosen drug .


I hope this helps...


I wish you all te best ...




Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I'd really prefer to get myself away from depending on a drug to help. Currently I'm taking 15 mg of Cymbalta so it would be okay to also add L-Theanine and GABA? Should they be taken at different times of the day?

Well, yes it would be good to add these two , as they will assist in relieving your anxiety . Take GABA in the morning , while L- theanine in the afternoon and evening after meals .


I hope this helps..




Customer: replied 7 years ago.
And when should the Cymbalta be taken? I just want to avoid serotonin syndrome or whatever else. By taking these supplements will it be easier to wean off of the Cymbalta? I'd like to avoid the brain zaps and ill feeling I got when I came off of Paxil several years ago.

Cymbalta to be taken at night as a single dose after dinner. There is no possibility of a serotonin syndrome as the dose of cymbalta that yu are taking is well within the normal range .


No, these supplements cannot help in cymbalta withdrawal .


Just come off cybalta slowly over a week's time to avoid brain zaps and other withdrawal symptoms , plus at 15 mg low dose of cymbalta neither serotonin syndrome nor withdrawal syndrome should be an issue and bother you.


I hope this helps..



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