Tianeptine is Now a Schedule II Controlled Substance

Update: DTPM discusses the recent Tianeptine ban with a panel of guests on the Jay Barker Radio Show.

Tianeptine is Now a Schedule II Controlled Substance

On March 15, 2021, the state of Alabama became the second state to officially ban the sale of Tianeptine, categorizing it as a Schedule II controlled substance. It will no longer be available to purchase over the counter in local convenience stores and gas stations.

What is Tianaa?

Advertised as a dietary supplement, this product was readily available on most convenience store shelves and could easily be purchased online. Tianaa’s product description lists the drug as a replacement for the now-banned drug, Kratom.

The main ingredient in Tianaa is tianeptine. It is a highly addictive, synthetic drug that gives its users a euphoric high, and severe withdrawal symptoms. The drug claims to help with anxiety and depression.  Tianna Red’s product description states that “it will bring you nice relief and relaxation” which most users quickly recognized as a trap.

One user described a euphoric feeling much like opiates, stating it was “just like heroin.” It did not take him long to become dependent on Tianaa and began taking 120 pills per day.  “The Bottom line is tianeptine is highly addictive and the withdrawals are reckless.”  Tianna is also a highly expensive product selling for $25 to $45 dollars per bottle containing 15 pills.” Due to its addictive properties, this product feeds on those who struggle with addiction when it is carelessly consumed.

What did the FDA have to say about tianeptine?

Dating back to 2018, The FDA has been issuing warning letters to companies that are marketing products containing tianeptine as dietary supplements.

The criteria to deem a product a “Dietary supplement” includes containing at least one “dietary ingredient” but that product can also contain non-dietary ingredients, subject to applicable requirements.  A “dietary ingredient” is a vitamin; mineral; herb or other botanical; amino acid; dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of the preceding substances.

Tianeptine does not qualify as a dietary ingredient and is not an approved food additive or recognized as an FDA-approved or safe substance in the United States. Several case reports issued by the CDC showed that tianeptine toxicity mimicked opioid toxicity and that naloxone was an effective therapy.  Recognized for its potential for abuse, several countries withdrew tianeptine from the market in 2010.  However, in some European, Asian, and Latin American countries, Tianaa is a commonly prescribed drug.

Controlled Substances

Controlled substances (CS) are regulated by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which divides CS into five categories called schedules.  Schedule 1 having the highest potential for abuse and currently have no accepted medical use.  They are the only schedule of drugs that cannot be prescribed.  Examples include heroin, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and marijuana.

Tianeptine is now a Schedule II drug meaning it may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.  Other examples include morphine, methamphetamine, cocaine, methadone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and phencyclidine (PCP).

Local History with Tianaa

In St. Clair County and other surrounding areas, many local recovery courts were seeing the effects of Tianaa in their courtrooms.  Judge Philip Seay, of St. Clair County Drug Court, and Pell City Mayor, Bill Pruitt, began to spearhead the push to ban the dangerous drug from their communities and quickly became a resource across the state.  Ivi McDaniel, Pell City council member and substance abuse counselor, experienced in treating Tianaa addiction also assisted in crafting the city’s ordinance to ban it from Pell City convenience store shelves.

In an interview with WAFF 48, Judge Charles Elliott, who runs the Morgan County Drug Court program, has also seen the effects of tianeptine in Decatur.  Elliott told the news station he became aware of the drug because some drug court participants were acting as if they were high, but passing random drug tests.  Judge Elliott also asked the Decatur City Council to impose a city ban.

How can we help?

DTPM has been working with many community leaders to assist in any way we can. We support the push to ban Tianaa from public consumption. As the ban of Tianna spreads from county to county and surrounding states, we are getting more involved because DTPM’s mission is to help fight drug dependency.

Our DTPM team understands all sides of addiction and Recovery, and we know that due to the bans, there is a most likely going to be a surge of those in need of detox or recovery resources. New Outlook Detox, Family Life Center and Rapha Treatment Center are DTPM affiliated and services are readily available for your next steps in recovery. If you need help to quit tianeptine, please call our 24-hour helpline at 256-888-1234 for support. Our line is manned by recovering addicts that will talk with you and put you in touch with the intake coordinator at New Outlook Detox.  We are here to help you.