What is it?
GABA is abbreviated for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. It is a chemical found naturally in the human body. The supplement has been used in the treatment of depression, manic-depressive (bipolar) disorder, seizures (uncontrollable shaking), premenstrual dysphoric (feeling depressed) disorder, and anxiety. The use of GABA in the treatment of these conditions may not be effective.
Other names for GABA include: Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid.
Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.
Tell your doctor if you
- are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
- are breastfeeding
- have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease
Talk with your caregiver about how much GABA you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking GABA. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.
To store this medicine:
Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.
- Before taking GABA, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Do not take GABA if you have any of the following conditions: Prader-Willi Syndrome (1), Angelman Syndrome (1), encephalopathy (brain disease including dementia) due to liver disease (2), or behavior disorders (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) (3)
Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.
- Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
- Chest pain
- Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin
Other Side Effects:
You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.
- Visual field defects have been reported with use of the synthetic form of GABA (available by prescription only) (4)
- Flushing, increased mood, anxiety, and increases in blood pressure and heart rate have been documented in animals given GABA (5)
1. Ebert MH, Schmidt DE, Thompson T et al: Elevated plasma gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in individuals with either Prader-Willi syndrome or Angelman syndrome. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 1997 Winter; 9(1):75-80.
2. Levy LJ & Losowsky MS: Plasma gamma aminobutyric acid concentrations provide evidence of different mechanisms in the pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy in acute and chronic liver disease. Hepatogastroenterology 1989 Dec; 36(6):494-498.
3. Prosser J, Hughes CW, Sheikha S et al: Plasma GABA in children and adolescents with mood, behavior, and comorbid mood and behavior disorders: a preliminary study. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 1997; 7(3):181-199.
4. Kalviainen R, Nousiainen I, Mantyjarvi M et al: Vigabatrin, a gabaergic antiepileptic drug, causes concentric visual field defects. Neurology 1999; 53(5):922-926.
5. Nurnberger JI, Berrettini WH, Simmons-Alling S et al: Intravenous GABA administration is anxiogenic in man. Psychiatry Res 1986; 7(2):113-117.
Last Updated: 1/4/2011