Addicts turn to unapproved anti depressant to get high
| Dennis Thompson, Health Day News – In a trend that suggests opioid addicts are turning to new fixes, a government report shows that use of an unapproved antidepressant is becoming more widespread in the United States.
Tianeptine is used in some European, Asian and Latin American countries for treatment of depression and anxiety.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved use of the drug in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite this, U.S. poison control centers have been receiving a growing number of reports related to tianeptine, which is sold abroad under the names Coaxil or Stablon.
“There’s essentially been an exponential increase in cases being reported to poison control, which likely underestimates the prevalence of tianeptine use or exposure by many orders of magnitude,” said Dr. Harshal Kirane, director of addiction services for Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.
Tianeptine produces effects similar to opioids, and officials suspect that people are taking the drug as an alternative to those narcotics, the new report noted.
There were 83 reports of tianeptine being used with other substances, most commonly benzodiazepines, opioids, ethanol and phenibut, an anti-anxiety medication also sold abroad, Dr. Tharwat El Zahran, of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, and colleagues reported.
Kirane said, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the uptick in these tianeptine reports coincides with some of the broader changes in [tightening] prescribing policies” for opioid painkillers.
Tianeptine acts upon opioid receptors in the brain, the authors of the report explained.
People taking it can become addicted and suffer from withdrawal when they stop. Poison control received 29 calls associated with tianeptine withdrawal, the researchers found.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, “Tianeptine is a dual threat … ” Read the full story at UPI.