Gas stations in the US are selling a drink that can cause cramps and loss of consciousness: FDA urges caution
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning Americans not to buy the liquid form of tianeptine, known as "gas station heroin", as some people have reported hospitalization and seizures after using it. The publication told in more detail Vice.
The FDA urges the public not to purchase or consume Neptune's Fix tianeptine, which is sold in 10-milliliter bottles and tablets at gas stations, smoke shops and convenience stores nationwide. Although the dosing instructions say to use a few drops of liquid, some people drink the entire bottle in one go.
“The FDA has received reports of serious adverse events after consuming Neptune's Fix products, including seizures and loss of consciousness that have resulted in people being hospitalized. Therefore, those who have a bad reaction to any tianeptine product should seek immediate medical attention,” the warning states.
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Tianeptine is used as an antidepressant in dozens of countries but is not regulated in the United States. It is not a federally scheduled drug and is marketed as a cognitive stimulant. Tianeptine targets opioid receptors in the brain, and many users have reported that it causes severe withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, chills and severe anxiety.
This drug is illegal in Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Alabama, Minnesota, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Indiana.
Some of the most popular brands include Zaza, Pegasus and Tianaa, but one respondent who took tianeptine said Neptune's Fix was the most powerful brand.
“I have tried every brand on the market that I know of, and Neptune is by far the strongest,” said the person, whose name has not been disclosed for privacy reasons.
Since the medical community is not very aware of tianeptine, people are turning to the internet for advice and support. John, a former user of the drug, is a moderator of the r/quittingtianeptine subreddit. He says in the past few months there has been an increase in reports of people taking Neptune's Fix losing consciousness and ending up in hospital.
One post, captioned "Neptune's Fix Almost Killed Me," shows a man in a hospital bed hooked up to a ventilator. According to him, after drinking the entire bottle of antidepressant, he went home, and 11 hours later he woke up in the hospital.
As John said, most of the people who complained said they used Neptune's Fix regularly and had developed a tolerance to it.
“These people know they need a whole bottle to get to the level they need, so they just buy it and drink it. And in almost every case they lost consciousness, some even had seizures,” he explained, noting that inexperienced users may be at even greater risk of side effects.
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Redditors who had negative experiences with Neptune's Fix compared the substance's effects to synthetic weed. According to John, there is speculation that some products are counterfeit, but "no one is 100% sure."
Because tianeptine is not an approved drug, products containing it are not regulated, meaning we don't know what's actually in them.
The FDA said it is reviewing Neptune's Fix products and will report its findings.
“Those who have a bad reaction to any tianeptine product should seek medical attention immediately. Neptune Fix labels indicate that the drug contains tianeptine, but may contain other harmful ingredients not listed on the label,” the FDA warning noted.
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