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Opinions - Will Valerian add to GABA-A /B withdrawal

Discussion in 'Ethnobotanicals' started by Cuberun, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Cuberun

    Cuberun Gold Member

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    Agent has used 40mg etizolam in 3.5 days to combat the withdrawal effects of a week of baclofen. He has now ran out of etizolam but wouldn't take anymore regardless as 3.5 days is probably still in the safe zone despite megadoses.


    Will valerian somehow prolong the gaba-a action and thus create a real benzo withdrawal?

    Should agent just stick to something like an antihistamine instead for the sleep?

    he has doxylamine, although finds that sometimes it doesn't make him sleepy but just annoyingly drowsy.
     
  2. Shanty

    Shanty Titanium Member

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    I'm not quite sure of the science... but I recall reading somewhere the Valerian is used to help ease benzo withdrawl. Not sure how well it works. He's also read that Valerian can extend the effects of benzo's.

    Melatonin is also used to help people coming off benzo to sleep.
     
  3. no eff eks

    no eff eks Silver Member

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    Valerian has compounds active on the GABA system and is slightly sedating/intoxicating in high doses. The effect is very slight at reasonable doses, but it definitely could help relieve symptoms of GABAergic drug withdrawal.

    I'm kinda shocked to hear of a withdrawal from baclofen after just a week of use. I've only taken the drug once, but it felt like a very weak agonist of GABA receptors akin to the effects of gabapentin. I've quit benzos cold-turkey after 10+ days of high doses and thought nothing of it. Is baclofen really that physically addictive?
     
  4. Mindless

    Mindless Gold Member

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    How are the baclofen withdrawals you describe? I hope these have abated. It would be interesting to hear what they were like. I have tried baclofen recreationally, I didn't get on well as it gave me awful headaches. Baclofen can have some unpleasant effects including anxiety, agitation and hallucinations; is there any chance this contributed to your feelings of withdrawal? Any adverse effects of baclofen are more likely to be felt if the dose is not gradually increased.

    My own subjective experience of valerian is that it does feel somewhat like the sedation obtained from benzodiazepines. I suspect some GABAergic activity results from taking valerian, especially given the rapid tolerance and even rebound insomnia I have experienced following more than a few nights use. Although animal studies show some bonding with GABA (A) receptors, there are no human trials confirming this. However, valerian is known as a sedative hypnotic and anxiolytic. "Both open label studies and randomized controlled trials support valerian’s use as a mild anxiolytic".

    "In vitro data: Valerian extracts containing amino acids and valerenic acid bind weakly with the GABA (A) receptor in rat brain assay. In rat brain cortex, aqueous extract of valerian inhibited the uptake and stimulated the release of GABA, leading to increased concentrations of GABA in synaptic clefts; these effects may be due in part to the presence of GABA in valerian root extracts, and/or to valerenic acid’s ability to inhibit GABA breakdown." (Kemper 1999)

    If valerian does bind to GABA (A) receptors in humans, it appears to me that it might not do so with anything like the efficiency of benzodiazepines or thienodiazepines such as etizolam. There may be some cross-tolerance between baclofen, valerian, and etizolam. However, my guess is that any GABAergic effects of valerian would not be sufficient to cause dependency in the wake of 3 and a half days of heavy etizolam use. The use of a few GABAergic substances in succession may however cause some rebound anxiety and insomnia.

    Baclofen should be gradually reduced over one to two weeks, or longer if necessary. I'm not clear if one week's use would cause problems if abruptly ceased, but potential problems include; "hyperactive state, may exacerbate spasticity, and precipitate autonomic dysfunction including hyperthermia, psychiatric reactions and convulsions." (BNF 63)

    Sources:
    Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
    . Kathi J. Kemper,The Longwood Herbal Task Force, 1999.
    British National Formulary 63
    ,March 2012.
    DF Wiki Etizolam.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  5. Lodewijkp

    Lodewijkp Silver Member

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    valerian extend the effect of benzo...
    valerian itself is also addictive..

    almost all valerian supplements are very low quality - so degraded that it's more placebo than anything else.

    if you are going to try valerian products go for high quality products that contain grounded root and no oil macerate.... it's even better to grow valerian in your own garden ...time until harvest however depends on your climate/ USDA zone...

    list of things that you could use :
    valerian root
    lemon balm
    salvia nemerosa
    Paeonia root ( lactiflora )
    Nerve root
    Catmint... especially nepata cataria
    absinthium annua
    german chamomile

    eat them raw
     
  6. HishHash

    HishHash Newbie

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    It's probably not going to cause any major issues. Valerian is pretty weak as a gaba A agonist, so shouldn't be too bad.

    Is it normal to use gaba A/benzos for gaba B agonist withdraws? If so, anybody have any idea why it works?
     
  7. no eff eks

    no eff eks Silver Member

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    From what I remember, beonzodiazepines attach to GABA-A receptors and increase the action that GABA has on them.... It's a round-a-bout way of agonizing GABA-A receptors from what I understand. Thus, GABA-A agonists should relieve benzo withdrawal symptoms (and they do).
     
  8. Mindless

    Mindless Gold Member

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    Many websites say that valerian may ease the transition when benzodiazepines are ceased, although I can't find any studies or reports to confirm this. Any such benefit would depend on the quality of the plant or extract, as Lodewijkp points out, many valerian extracts are of poor quality. Sharma et al (2010) suggest that valerian extract may act as a GABA agonist and reuptake inhibitor, as well as inhibiting the metabolism of GABA:

    "A possible mechanism by which a valerian extract may cause sedation is by increasing the amount of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter) available in the synaptic cleft. Results from an in vitro study using synaptosomes suggest that a valerian extract may cause GABA to be released from brain nerve endings and then block GABA from being taken back into nerve cells. In addition, valerenic acid inhibits an enzyme that destroys GABA." (Sharma et al 2010)

    The paper states that valerian appears to be safe, but add that there is not sufficient evidence to confirm this. The long-term effects of valerian have not been established, so extended use is not recommended. I'm not sure that valerian is addictive, but frequent or continuous use does lead to tolerance, which has been my experience after a few nights use. Sharma et al explain that this tolerance can be accompanied by increases in dosage, which may cause serious adverse effects:

    "According to some researchers, long-term use of valerian may cause psychological depression, damage to the liver, or damage to the central nervous system. High short-term doses of valerian have been reported to cause headaches, muscle spasms, dizziness, digestive upsets, insomnia, and confusion."

    However, there is one report on a 58 year old man with delirium and rapid heartbeat following surgery (Garges et al 1998). He had been taking around 2.5-10 grams per day of valerian root extract for 'many years'. Despite receiving a diagnosis of valerian withdrawal, there were many other possible contributing or causative factors including polypharmacy and general anaesthesia.

    Wiener et al made a similar case report: "A 41 year-old woman without significant past medical or psychiatric history presented with agitation, visual hallucinations, and tinnitus. According to a friend, she had been using Valerian regularly as well as acetaminophen and hydrocodone, and she had no history of ethanol abuse." Four days after ceasing all medications the woman had raised pulse and respiration, and was tremulous. Nystagmus (involuntary oscillation of the eyes) was also noted. Following consultation the woman returned to 'her baseline normal state' after treatment with lorazepam over 24 hours. Wiener's conclusion: "Patients may develop a withdrawal syndrome after cessation of Valerian use that is similar to withdrawal from other GABAergic agents." Again, the symptoms the woman presented with could related to opioid use and withdrawal, mental illness or mental disorder. 24 hours is a surprisingly recovery, which makes me ask; were these really withdrawals?

    I'm not convinced by the two reports above, but there may be a chance that prolonged valerian use could lead to withdrawals. Still, I think it would be unlikely that transitional use of valerian, at safe doses, would precipitate withdrawals following a fairly short period of etizolam and baclofen use. Valerian is a step down from drugs with a fuller affinity for GABBA receptors, so it may be of benefit during such transitions.

    Sources:
    A Comprehensive Pharmacognostic Report on Valerian.
    International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, Muktika Sharma , U. K. Jain, Ajay Patel and Nilesh Gupta, 2010.
    Cardiac complications and delirium associated with valerian root withdrawal. Garges HP, Varia I, Doraiswamy PM. JAMA 1998;280:1566-1567.
    Withdrawal symptoms after Valerian cessation. Wiener et al, 2003.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012