What is Tianeptine aka "Gas Station Heroin?"

Despite the dangers associated with this drug, it is frequently sold as a dietary supplement and can even be purchased at gas stations, earning it the name “gas station heroin.”

There are a lot of dangerous substances out there. Even prescription medications can be dangerous if they are not taken properly. One example of this is a drug called Tianeptine, which is a medication that has been used to treat depression in many parts of the world. It is frequently used in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, and has been marketed as a tricyclic antidepressant. In the United States, the first-line treatment option for depression is SSRIs, which target serotonin receptors in the brain.

Instead of targeting serotonin, Tianeptine targets glutamate and opioid receptors in the brain. If taken in large quantities, it could create similar euphoric and sedative effects as opioids. Despite the dangers associated with this drug, it is frequently sold as a dietary supplement and can even be purchased at gas stations, earning it the name “gas station heroin.”

What do you need to know about this substance, and what should you do if you or a loved one are misusing it?

Where Is Tianeptine Legal?

Even though doctors in the United States prefer to use other treatment options to address depression, Tianeptine is still legal in many states domestically. Only Alabama, Minnesota, and Michigan have considered Tianeptine a controlled substance.

Furthermore, it has not been approved by the FDA for human consumption, but that does not necessarily mean that it is illegal. Sellers have circumvented this by selling it as a dietary supplement, which is not regulated by the FDA.

Why Does Tianeptine Exert Effects Similar To Opioids?

Given that Tianeptine is a treatment option for depression, many people wonder how it can exert effects that are similar to opioids. This is because it has atypical properties. Specifically, it can bind to opioid receptors in the brain when it is taken in a high dose.

If you consume Tianeptine, it will have an impact on a variety of brain functions. It will trigger neurotransmitters that are tied to opioid receptors, block glutamate receptors, and have an impact on your dopamine levels. Unlike other antidepressants, it does not have a significant impact on serotonin levels.

Because this is a drug that binds to opioid receptors, it is possible to overdose on it just like other opioid medications. If you take too much of the substance, it can cause respiratory depression, meaning that you may have a difficult time breathing, requiring prompt medical attention.

Is Tianeptine Addictive?

Due to this medication targeting the opioid receptors in the brain, it is considered addictive. There are plenty of studies that have already shown that it has a high potential for misuse, and if someone who has used Tianeptine for a long time suddenly stops taking it, they can develop a variety of withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms associated with Tianeptine also have the potential to be worse than other opioid medications, according to some studies.

Even though it might not be as popular as other illicit drugs, Tianeptine is increasing in popularity in the United States, causing some government officials to be concerned. That is why anyone who has been taking this drug should consider reaching out to an expert for help stopping it.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Tianeptine Use?

Like other drugs, there are a variety of side effects that could develop from Tianeptine use. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Changes in GI rhythm, including constipation
  • Headaches, sensitivity to light, and sensitivity to loud noises
  • Drowsiness, confusion, and disorientation
  • Respiratory depression, marked by difficulty breathing

In particularly severe situations, especially when taken with alcohol, Tianeptine could cause someone to enter a coma. If they do not find medical help right away, it could result in death. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to develop the side effects listed above. Some people might be more likely to develop some side effects than others, but it is important for people to avoid this risk altogether by not using the drug.

How Can You Stop Using Tianeptine and Quit?

Because the withdrawal symptoms can be particularly severe, it is critical to reach out to a medical professional who can supervise someone going through Tianeptine withdrawal and help them detoxify from the medication completely. Even after someone has gone through the detox process, it is important to work with an expert who can customize a treatment plan to help someone not only get sober but also stay sober. That is where we can help you.

Rely on MATClinics for Help With Substance Abuse Concerns

Even though Tianeptine is still relatively new in the United States, it is clear that its use is on the rise. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse concerns, there are experts who are available to help you. We offer medication-assisted treatment that can help you recover from a variety of substance use disorders. We also have the expertise necessary to help someone who has been using Tianeptine for a long time. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to speak to a member of our team.

Speak to a member of our team to schedule a New Patient visit, or just to get more information.

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