What is Tianeptine?
Mental illness affects tens of millions of people across the country every year. Depression and anxiety disorders are two of the most common mental health disorders today. As a result, most of us are familiar with prescription medications like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. But a relatively new drug on the mental health scene in America is tianeptine addiction.
While fewer people are familiar with this one, it’s quickly growing in popularity. Tianeptine boasts an impressive list of claims. It is said to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain.
The website for tianeptine claims that it is a neuroprotective antidepressant. It is said to reverse the neurological damage and other mood-based symptoms that come from long-term uncontrolled stress.
A drug that makes such claims would work as a mood booster, creating feelings of euphoria to replace the symptoms of depression and anxiety that existed in their place before. Although tianeptine is legal in other countries, our drug approval agency is still monitoring it and researching its uses, side effects, and dangers.
Where Did Tianeptine Come From?
Tianeptine, while still relatively new to the U.S., has been used for a while to treat depression in Europe, Asia, and some Latin American countries. However, it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for any medical use here.
And it’s not approved for any commercial uses here, either. This means that whether it’s marketed as an antidepressant, anxiety reliever, dietary supplement, or brain-enhancing supplement, tianeptine has not been sufficiently tested for safety or earned FDA approval.
In fact, due to increasing rates of abuse and related health concerns, tianeptine is no longer available as an over-the-counter purchase in the United States. Some states have gone past not approving it and have specifically made it illegal.
In Alabama and Michigan, tianeptine has been labeled a Schedule II controlled substance. Substances in this drug class have a high potential for abuse, with the potential for severe psychological or physical dependence.
Other drugs in this category include Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, Dilaudid, Demerol, OxyContin, fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.
What Does Tianeptine Look Like?
Tianeptine has been found across the country in several different forms. Depending on where it is and what it’s being marketed for, it may come in a bulk powder, a small batch of powder in a stamp or “dime” bag (similar to one that might contain heroin), or a counterfeit pill.
What Other Names is Tianeptine Called?
Tianeptine has several other names. The two most common are Coaxil and Stablon. It is also sometimes referred to as Tianna, tianeptine sodium powder, or tianeptine sulfate. In many places, tianeptine hit the shelves as a replacement for the increasingly banned drug known as Kratom. But by any name, form, or purpose, tianeptine can be deadly when abused.
Tianeptine Side Effects
Severe adverse health effects, including respiratory depression, severe sedation, and death have occurred from the misuse of tianeptine. According to recent reports, most individuals who are using tianeptine are doing so to achieve a euphoric high.
A tianeptine high is similar to the one you’d achieve from opioids or heroin. Up until recently, you could buy tianeptine in many corner stores or gas stations. It was available over the counter until the CDC noted a rapid and significant increase in tianeptine-related poison control calls.
In addition to respiratory depression and sedation, some of the most commonly reported tianeptine side effects include:
- Stomach problems, including aches and symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome
- Tolerance and dependence
These side effects mimic those of opioids. When tianeptine is mixed with other substances, like alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines, an overdose becomes more likely. In some cases, comas and fatalities have been reported.
So far, we have seen that a wide range of side effects is possible when you use or abuse tianeptine. But these side effects are still being evaluated to see how common and concerning they are and if there are others that we should be monitoring, too.
How Does Tianeptine Work?
Tianeptine works by increasing the serotonin uptake in the brain. Medications that do this can lower stress levels and promote better moods. By boosting dopamine levels, they also ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. They are the most effective when taken in low dosages.
But one of the biggest problems when it comes to illicit drugs is that they are rarely taken in the appropriate dosages. And when they aren’t taken in the right methods or dosages, they become highly addictive.
As our bodies become dependent on a substance, we need more of it to achieve the desired effects. This can cause withdrawal symptoms when we try to stop using it. It can also act as a gateway to other addictions, most commonly to opioids or benzodiazepines.
How Long Does Tianeptine Stay in Your System?
Many users wonder: how long does tianeptine stay in your system? Current estimates suggest that the half-life for tianeptine is two and a half to three hours. This means that one dose might last in the system for five to six hours.
But the longer you abuse the substance and the higher the doses you take each time, the longer it can linger.
Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to this question. This drug is not FDA-approved. It has no approved medical or commercial uses. We have not studied it enough to say for certain how long it lasts in the body.
But we do know that severe withdrawal symptoms from tianeptine have been reported. And in some cases, they have resulted in hospitalization.
Tianeptine Withdrawal Symptoms
According to published case reports, these withdrawal symptoms have had adverse effects on users’ respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, and gastrointestinal systems.
Some of the most common tianeptine withdrawal symptoms thus far have been:
The rapid increase in poison control center calls and emergency room visits related to tianeptine has warranted an extreme public health concern.
How to Get Off Tianeptine
Tianeptine addictions, side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and overdoses are similar to those that we see in opioid studies. Because this drug comes with a wide variety of potential health impairments, including cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms, we recommend starting with a monitored detox.
Quitting cold turkey at home is rarely as successful or safe as attending a detox program in an accredited addiction facility. From there, we offer a wide range of treatment programs to meet a wide range of individual needs.
If you or a loved one needs help getting off tianeptine or another drug, contact us today to explore your options.
Treatment for Tianeptine Addiction
Of the millions of individuals who suffer from a mental illness every year, only about half receive treatment. We’re here to help change that. We believe that a better outcome starts with the right information and access to care.
If you are suffering from anxiety or depression and a substance abuse disorder, we have a specialized and customizable program that can help. Our co-occurring disorder program combines proven treatments for both types of disorders.
Because getting to and treating the root of the problem is always better than treating the surface symptoms. It’s time to rediscover your life at The Discovery House. Call us today at 818-452-1676 for more information.