Those that have used tianeptine describe its effects as giving them the feeling of a combination of cocaine and Percocet.
Alarms are being sounded about a substance sold as a dietary supplement that has been deemed “gas station heroin” and which has been banned by several states.
It is being reported that the compound, tianeptine, affects the body similarly to addictive opioids.
Tianeptine is a tricyclic antidepressant used to treat depression in some European, Latin American, and Asian countries, but it’s not approved by the FDA for medical use in the U.S. It’s not a controlled substance and is typically sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, nootropic (a chemical that improves cognitive function), or a research chemical under brand names like ZaZa Red, TD Red, and Tianna. It can be found in gas stations or easily bought online.
Medical experts say tianeptine functions as an opioid because it hits opioid receptors in the brain, which explains why people have reported severe withdrawal when they try to stop using it.
“People are using it either to manage or withdrawal from harder, harsher stuff, or they’re kind of starting their journey and developing an unhealthy relationship with it based on its effects—and its effects are opioid-like effects,” said Dr. Patrick Marshalek, an associate professor at West Virginia University’s School of Medicine.
Those that have used tianeptine describe its effects as giving them the feeling of a combination of cocaine and Percocet. Several states have moved to ban its sale already.
The harmful substances are highly addictive, and users are going from taking three pills at a time to 15 at once. Others are admitting to taking up to six bottles a day.
The withdrawal side effects are leaving people in deep regret. Tianeptine withdrawal is reportedly worse than the withdrawal associated with drugs like fentanyl or oxycodone. Side effects include vomiting, pain, uncontrollable chills and shaking, and more.
Some states have learned about Tianeptine and have taken action against it. It has been banned in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Tennessee. The drug has proven to be harmful and highly addictive.
Since 2020 there has been a spike in calls to poison control related to Tianeptine.
Authorities are beginning to act on the concerns. For example, sheriffs seized over one thousand bottles of tianeptine-containing supplements in Georgia from a convenience store.
During the investigation, agents went to the store and saw multiple bottles of Za Za, Tianna, and Tiara displayed near the counter. According to deputies, all of the bottles contained tianeptine.
Agents seized a total of 1,213 bottles from the store in Tallapoosa.
Authorities did not say which store it was or if anyone was arrested.
Channel 2′s Tom Regan was in Haralson County Wednesday, where deputies burned the pills they seized from the store. They say the pills are being abused and causing people serious health problems.
“To us, this is peddling poison on the streets,” Sheriff Stacy Williams said.
During a recent segment, Fox News Host Tucker Carlson discussed tianeptine with Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.