WHAT IS IT?
Tianeptine is a neuroprotective drug with anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties that have been used to treat major depressive disorders as well as other conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), asthma and more.
In recent days, Tianeptine has garnered a reputation as being a mood enhancer among the nootropic community with several vendors offering bulk Tianeptine Sulfate Powder and other formulas. With this growing interest in Tianeptine has come the inevitable issue of drug abuse.
After a young man died from the toxic effects of the drug in July of 2015—and his parents filed a lawsuit against the vendor who sold him it—folks have been questioning whether Tianeptine is safe for human consumption. The answer to that question is complex which is why we will break it all down here in the clearest language possible while exploring the intricacies of the case as well as the drug.
THE RISK OF DEATH
Tianeptine came under scrutiny in recent months after Charles and Mary Brennan filed suit against Powder City, LLC, a popular nootropic vendor with a long-standing reputation among noot enthusiasts. The crux of their legal position hinges upon two inalienable facts:
Their son, Colby Patrick Brennan, died the very same day he tried the Tianeptine he ordered from Powder City for the first time, and the Tianeptine Colby had shipped to him from Powder City allegedly arrived bearing no warning labels and sported “entirely inadequate instructions,” according to a report in the SE Texas Record.
So is it true? Can Tianeptine kill? Perhaps. But it’s not the drug itself that kills so much as it’s the detrimental dosages that some people ingest which make it dangerous or even potentially fatal.
One user on Blue Light posted about a near-fatal overdose. He makes a point to compare Tianeptine’s effects to those of more traditional opioids and says that he had a long-term IV opioid habit and began taking high doses of Tianeptine to stave off withdrawal symptoms when he wasn’t doping.
This user reported taking anywhere from 300 to 400 mg several times a day. Eventually, it got so bad that he ended up injecting himself with several hundred milligrams of Tianeptine Sodium and followed it up, shortly thereafter, with an additional 300 milligrams.
The next thing he knew, he was waking up on a stretcher in an emergency room after his family found him unresponsive on the floor of his bathroom. He was found hypoxic with no respirations and no pulse. And that is the potential danger of Tianeptine tolerance—In high dosages, Tianeptine can cause acute respiratory depression.
Medical experts have written extensively about the management of respiratory depression in persons who have overdosed on Tianeptine. This is nothing new to anyone in the know about the world of nootropics, people have been posting about the risk factor associated with high dosages for the last couple of years. Medical studies have been conducted and journals have documented toxicity.
In no such studies did findings suggest a significant risk in taking Tianeptine in low dosages.
TAKING TIANEPTINE RESPONSIBLY
While the family seeks monetary damages, the online community seeks more information. Those nootropic users who have espoused the drug in the past are lamenting this controversy on message boards and nootropic-related forums with one Reddit post calling it “the beginning of the end.” And they just might have a point.
The rats are scrambling off of the proverbial sinking ship in the wake of this tragic situation. Indeed, many reputable vendors are too afraid to continue offering Tianeptine on their websites. Some who have long stocked the drug is no longer intending to take orders for it.
The reason is clear: Tianeptine now has a stigma attached to it and that scarlet letter reads D for Death. But the reality of Tianeptine addiction is actually far different from the narrative that is being shaped as a result of this incident. In fact, Tianeptine is as safe as most similar drugs if taken with proper precautions.
The average Tianeptine pill contains 12.5 milligrams and this is the recommended dosage for most first-time users. The drug usually kicks in within 15-30 minutes, peaking in about an hour to ninety minutes. Some vendors offer 36 mg capsules, but the general consensus is that 12 mg is sufficient and safe. The problem here, as with so many drugs, is the potential for tolerance and subsequent abuse.
One needs to look no further than the boards at Longecity to see that tolerance is typical with long-term Tianeptine use. One user wrote, “My experience with Tianeptine is that it worked very well…for 2-3 months and then just stopped working. Hope this doesn’t happen to you.
“After that, I tried increasing my dosage until eventually, I was taking 9 x 12.5 mg daily.”
You read that right, kids! This dude was taking nine Tianeptine pills a day! To say that no one should have to take nine of anything a day to feel better is an understatement of epic proportions.
But this same LongeCity page also underscores the bigger picture which is this: If you use it the right way for an acceptable amount of time, Tianeptine exhibits real efficacy in the areas of mood stabilization and anxiety relief.
As this person who took it for social anxiety and dysthymia pointed out, “I have been taking this drug for the past 5 weeks at 10-15 mg x 3 daily…The results have been outstanding. My mood is stable and optimistic, I no longer have GAD [Generalized Anxiety Disorder] symptoms or obsessive negative thoughts. My appetite is finally coming back.”
Another user backed him up, saying, “I am feeling an incredible sense of well-being after increasing my drug dose slightly to just 40 mg.”
As if you needed any after all that, am I right? But seriously, Tianeptine is to be taken with care. Those who purchase and intend on taking it, in the long run, should be aware that users have said the withdrawal is worse than heroin.
Typical side effects from taking this include drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, and constipation. Users should consult with their physician prior to taking this drug. Those with preexisting health conditions, particularly conditions related to the heart, hypertension or respiratory disorders, should probably consider steering clear of Tianeptine.
If any of the above adverse effects occur, users should discontinue use and seek immediate medical attention. Be safe, be smart and emancipate your mind.