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How antidepressant withdrawal 'can trap people'
10:22 - Source: CNN

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Tianeptine is a prescription antidepressant in Europe, Asia and Latin America

Between 2014 and 2017, there was a sharp increase in US poison control calls related to tianeptine

CNN  — 

From 2014 through 2017, there was an increase in US poison control calls related to the intentional abuse and misuse of tianeptine, an unapproved antidepressant drug, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report on Thursday.

Tianeptine, marketed as Coaxil or Stablon, is used as a prescription antidepressant in Europe, Asia and Latin America. In the US, it can be purchased on the Internet, even though the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use.

There have been reports that recreational abuse might result in severe side effects including vomiting, confusion, coma and kidney failure. The drug can be lethal in rare cases.

“Deaths associated with misuse of tianeptine have been reported outside the United States,” CDC researchers wrote in the new report. They added that two recent deaths attributed to “tianeptine toxicity” occurred in the US after the drug was purchased online.

Opioid connection

Discovered and patented by The French Society of Medical Research in the 1960s, the drug has shown beneficial effects against some symptoms of depression, including anxiety. Yet when it was first developed, its precise mode of action was unclear.

Research published in 2014 revealed that the drug stimulates some opioid receptors, which in turn release the brain’s chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), and this change in brain chemistry provides relief for some people with depression. Even before that study, though, reports of tianeptine abuse and withdrawal were similar to those of opioid abuse and withdrawal.

“In light of the ongoing