Tianeptine is a known antidepressant agent. The compound, sold under several brand names, is already used to treat depression in a number of countries worldwide.
It is potent, which is probably why it has developed a growing following of users who take it for off-label recreational and nootropic purposes.
For these otherwise healthy individuals, Tianeptine is supposed to provide a potent mood boost, but is freewheeling with what could be a selective Serotonin reuptake enhancers (SSREs) a wise idea?
What is Tianeptine
As mentioned, Tianeptine is thought to be a selective Serotonin reuptake enhancer. There is some evidence, however, to suggest that Tianeptine has no effects on serotonin levels unless taken with other select compounds, suggesting that it’s mechanism of action could be different than previously surmised.
What is known about Tianeptine, though, is that it is a potent antidepressant that also displays anti-anxiety abilities and neuroprotective properties. This means that it might also be useful in treating disorders related to cognitive decline and counteract cognitive deficits in attention, memory, problem-solving, etc.
Tianeptine is a curious case for researchers, as its method of action brings into question the traditional monoamine hypothesis of depression, in which it is believed that the major influencers of motivation and mood are the select neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. According to this primer:
“Converging lines of evidences demonstrate actions of tianeptine on the glutamatergic system, and therefore offer new insights into how tianeptine may be useful in the treatment of depressive disorders.”
More research will be required to determine precisely how Tianeptine fits into the grander scheme of things and further study may shine more light on the complex nature of depressive disorders.
Tianeptine was developed by French researchers in the 1980s and is currently a prescription drug in many parts of the Europe and Asia. In the United States, Tianeptine is not regulated by the FDA as there is a lack of interest from pharmaceutical companies. This means the drug is unscheduled and you can purchase it directly from vendors online.
Tianeptine is also referred to by its specific brand names: Stablon, Coaxil, Tatinol, Tianeurax, and Salymbra.
I was wary of giving this one a shot. Prescription grade antidepressants don’t sound like the type of thing to take lightly, but I had read that people had some remarkable mood experiences with it, and so I proceeded. Cautiously. I wanted to go with the capsules but had a tough time tracking them down, so I went with the powder instead.
I had read some widely varying information about dosing. One pharmacy entry I came across mentioned what seemed like a light dosing regimen:
“You should take your Stablon tablets 12.5mg swallowed whole with a glass of water, three times daily before a meal. You should continue to take your Stablon tablets 12.5mg for several weeks or months, depending on your condition and your doctor’s recommendations.”
They also said this was to treat major depression, so perhaps I’d need a bit less On the other end of the spectrum, I saw the wild cowboys over on Reddit talking about going all in with the compound:
“I used 300 milligrams. 100 milligrams three times a day, five times a week. Only withdrawal I had was some body aches and cold symptoms.”
I wasn’t in the mood for any sort of withdrawal symptoms (or driving myself crazy with an antidepressant OD), so I decided to try one dose around 12 milligrams to see what happened. I’m glad I took it easy.
Within a half hour, I felt a considerable euphoric feeling, like someone had taken my mood dial and cranked it up to eleven. I noticed a slight uptick in my focus and energy level, but the mood increase was what was most pronounced. You probably could have kicked my dog, and I’d still have a smile on my face as I challenged you to duel. The effects wore off after about four hours, and I was hesitant to give it another shot.
The next day I tried three doses of 12 milligrams spaced out through the day with similar effects. It was the same amped up mood, without much in the way of side effects. The final day I tried it, I went with a larger dose in the morning, 45 milligrams, as I read this might produce more of a calming effect in conjunction with the mood boost, and that seemed to be the case. After that, I decided not to chance it anymore and wrapped up my experimentation with Tianeptine.
There’s no doubt that Tianeptine works. The question is what effects it will have on you when you take it. Some have had positive experiences:
“I took 20 mg a couple of times and 40 mg twice. Basically, I noticed a difference. The racy thoughts slowed down considerably, I noticed my mood and confidence went up. I would describe it as a kind of energy to be more talkative, and not as anxious and self-conscious. Less worrying and Less OCD.”
Some experienced some pronounced side effects:
“I’ve noticed several side effects, which increase with the amount that I take and decrease accordingly: 1) Profuse sweating…2) Crazy dry mouth…3) Frequent urination at night…4) Sudden bouts of extreme sleepiness…5) No pitting edema…6) Significantly decreased sex drive…”
I’ve also seen a lot of talk about withdrawal symptoms that come with using Tianeptine. So, potent stuff, but you should handle it with care.
Benefits and Effects
Tianeptine is primarily used to treat depression symptoms but has several effects that extend beyond this narrowly prescribed application.
The antidepressant effects of Tianeptine are well known and widespread. According to a review of its use:
“The antidepressant efficacy and favourable tolerability and pharmacokinetic profiles of tianeptine in patients with depression, including those with associated anxiety, have been proven; the data indicate that it may have additional potential in specific subgroups of depressed patients such as the elderly and those with chronic alcoholism.”
When supplemented by otherwise healthy persons, it provides a considerable mood boost, coupled with a sensation of physical euphoria. In some cases, these can rival the feeling of a typical opioid. Predictably, this comes with some danger of abuse and potential withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.
Tianeptine also functions as an anti-anxiolytic, meaning that it nullifies feelings of anxiety in those that take it:
“When administered acutely, tianeptine counteracted the anxiogenic effect of benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal in the social interaction test, whereas no effects were observed in the stress-induced hyperthermia, elevated plus-maze and social interaction test…Tianeptine also significantly reduced the incidence of aggressive conflicts in stressed and unstressed control rats during periods when aggression is high.”
So, in addition to making you feel good, it also calms you down and helps you “chill out,” as it were.
There is also some information to suggest that Tianeptine might help with physical issues like asthma and irritable bowel syndrome. The potential serotonin reuptake effects have been found to counter bronchoconstriction (difficulty breathing), and the compound has also been shown to have an influence on the effects of the gastrointestinal system.
How It Works
It has been noted that Tianeptine does not function in the same manner as many other antidepressants. It has, at best, a negligible effect on monoamines (dopamine, serotonin, etc.). In fact, some information exists to suggest that it decreases extracellular levels of serotonin, but may alter the reuptake of the neurotransmitter:
“Tianeptine shows no affinity for known neurotransmitter receptors and does not inhibit the uptake of serotonin or noradrenaline in the central nervous system.”
Though researchers are still unsure of those facts, they are more certain of Tianeptine’s ability to increase neuroplasticity and to modulate a compound known as glutamate, which also plays a role in depression according to recent studies:
“The past decade has seen a steady accumulation of evidence supporting a role for the excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter, glutamate, and its receptors (several classes of ionotropic -ion channel-coupled- and metabotropic -G-protein-coupled- receptors) in depression and antidepressant activity.”
So, after ingesting Tianeptine, it works its way through the bloodstream to the brain, then starts to work its magic, usually inside an hour. It’s a quick-acting drug, and generally, the effects linger for anywhere from 3-4 hours, which is why multiple doses are recommended throughout the day.
The standard dosage for Stablon pills is 12.5 milligrams three times a day, or 37.5 milligrams. Some have noted that a larger dose of Tianeptine—40-50 milligrams—once in the morning increases the anti-anxiety effects of the drug. Those using it for recreational purposes have been known to take their dosage up to 300-500 milligrams a day, though, this is not advisable if you’re first trying to figure out how Tianeptine will affect you.
It does not have to be taken with food, and there are no additional considerations you’ll need to make in terms of weight, sex, etc. You might, however, want to refrain from taking this substance with alcohol. Use with other antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, etc.) is also something you might want to avoid, as it could result in unintended side effects.
If you are currently suffering from depression, you might want to consult with a doctor about the ideal dose as depression and its symptoms can vary from individual to individual. Hence, the ideal treatment for individuals will also vary. You’ll also want to avoid having Tianeptine react adversely with any current medication that you are on.
As a potent antidepressant, it might not be advisable to mix Tianeptine with other compounds without first consulting a doctor. More benign substances like caffeine can provide an energy boost, and there are anecdotal reports of some nootropics that work well with Tianeptine and don’t hinder its effects in any way. These include Noopept, the cognitive enhancer/psychostimulatory agent, and Phenibut, the GABA enhancer said to increase mood. When taken at standard doses, each compound will do their own thing, allowing you to reap the benefits of both Tianeptine and the nootropic of your choosing without dampening either one individually.
Tianeptine is a powerful mood-altering substance. You might want to gain some of the mood enhancement without the risk for abuse and withdrawal symptoms, though. In that case, you should try one of these alternatives:
5-Hydroxytryptophan, also called Oxitriptan, is an amino acid and precursor to several neurotransmitters (serotonin, melatonin). 5-HTP goes to work in the brain by increasing the production of these neurotransmitters.
It plays an important role in conditions where serotonin is believed to be a factor, and this group includes depression, insomnia, and several other mood/sleep related disorders. Clinical studies have shown that 5-HTP is useful in treating depression symptoms.
When supplementing with 5-HTP orally, users experience an enhancement in their mood along with a reduction in anxiety symptoms and nervousness.
This pharmaceutical drug is an analog of a compound known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Preliminary research shows that it might decrease anxiety and have additional effects on mood, but those studies have only been performed on animals to date. Anecdotal data, however, gives us tales of Phenibut assisting with not only anxiety, but fear, tension, stress, depression, fatigue, and several other negative emotions. It might also help with improving memory, learning, and thinking, if proponents are to be believed.
This nootropic is used to assist Alzheimer’s patients but has an additional role as an anxiety reducer. Its ability to modulate the AMPA receptor is thought to confer this ability, and when supplemented, users report feeling calmer, more motivated, and better able to tackle many of their daily tasks.
Tianeptine is powerful stuff, which is why I recommend exercising caution when trying it out. It will definitely affect your mood and has great potential to control anxiety symptoms, but it also seems as if it’s easy to go overboard with it.
To avoid that, I say start with a very small dose and work your way up if necessary, but don’t start by jumping off the deep end unless you’re sure of how Tianeptine will affect you.