Opioid addicts are creative when it comes to getting their next fix.  Their latest trend involves a dangerous new drug known as Tianeptine.  This drug is not approved in the U.S., according to the CDC. But, it is sold in European, Latin American, and Asian countries for treating anxiety and depression. It is available in capsule, tablet, and powder form and is easily obtained from online commercial sources.  As the drug becomes more widely used in the US, the dangers of tianeptine will be more obvious.

What Makes this Drug Attractive to Opioid Addicts?

Tianeptine is popular among opioid addicts because it produces effects that are similar to the effects of opioids.  According to the CDC, the number of calls related to tianeptine abuse increased exponential between 2014 and 2017.  About one-third of the calls were located in the South and the average age of the persons involved was 35 years.  Also, about 80% of the calls were about men who had abused the drug.

One reason opioid addicts use tianeptine has to do with the fact that it may not show up on opioid drug screenings.  Furthermore, in the United States, higher prices on opiate prescriptions and stricter controls are forcing addicts to seek alternatives such as heroin and tianeptine.

Side Effects and Dangers of Tianeptine

Tianeptine is available online under the names Coaxil or Stablon.  In fact, it is marketed as a smart drug or “nootropic” dietary supplement which boosts mood and cognition.  Addicts combine this drug with benzodiazepines, opioids, and other anti-anxiety medications.  Unfortunately, they mistakenly assume that the “smart drug” label means it is safer and legal.  Also, danger comes from advice given on blogs that suggest using very high doses to achieve the euphoria desired.

Currently, most U.S. emergency rooms do not routinely check patients for the presence of tianeptine since it is not legally prescribed or available here.  Unfortunately, this can lead to the individual not receiving the most effective treatment needed.

other side effects and dangers of tianeptine include:

People abusing tianeptine can become addicted to the drug and suffer withdrawal symptoms when the drug is unavailable.  With high doses, the dangers of tianeptine are similar to opioids.  These are some of the side effects to expect:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • High blood pressure
  • Confusion, excitability
  • Depression
  • Dizziness, headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death

Overall, the withdrawal symptoms of tianeptine abuse mimic those of opioids.  This happens because the drug targets the same receptors in the brain that opioids affect.  As with other prescription medications, when taken as directed, tianeptine is not likely to cause dependence or addiction.  However, those who choose to abuse the drug usually ingest high doses, and this is when addictions occur.

Potential for Increased Tianeptine Abuse in the U.S.

Purchasing drugs online is getting easier, despite efforts by the government to control the activity.  This may result in increased tianeptine addictions in our country in the next few years.  Of course, education and awareness about the potential for increased tianeptine traffic and addictions is one step in helping prevent overdoses or deaths.

Treatment for tianeptine addiction will include the same approaches used for opioid addiction.    With group and individual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other evidence-based therapies, addicts can identify these contributing factors and learn to control their behaviors.

If you would like more information about our program or about the dangers of Tianeptine, please contact Awakenings Rehabilitation today at the toll-free number provided.

 

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