Health Alert Tianeptine or Gas Station Heroin   
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Health Alert Tianeptine or Gas Station Heroin

What You Need To Know

  • The New Jersey Poison Center (NJPIES) has recently identified a cluster of poisoning cases involving tianeptine, a substance with opioid-like effects that is being falsely marketed and sold across the state in gas stations and online as a dietary supplement.
  • Common names for tianeptine include “gas station heroin,” “ZaZa Red,” or “Neptune’s Elixir” (among others). Tianeptine use can lead to serious health complications and even death.
Over the 60-day period from June 17 to August 17, NJPIES has received 9 calls about patients poisoned by tianeptine, and some patients have become critically ill. Due to this cluster of cases and previous FDA warnings, the NJDOH has increased surveillance efforts  around this substance and urges New Jersey residents to be cautious. Tianeptine is a tricyclic antidepressant used in some Latin American, Asian, and European countries but is not FDA approved or regulated for use in the United States. Individuals with an opioid use disorder may be more likely to use tianeptine, as it is inaccurately marketed as a safer alternative to opioids and can have opioid-like effects. The FDA has warned that manufacturers of tianeptine are making inaccurate and unproven claims that use of tianeptine can improve brain function, treat anxiety, depression, pain, opioid use disorder, and other health ailments. Common symptoms associated with tianeptine exposure include:
  • Agitation
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slow or stopped breathing
  • Coma
  • Death

For More Information

Providers who suspect tianeptine exposure in any patient should call New Jersey’s Poison Center (NJPIES) at 1-800-222-1222. Experts are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of poisoning. This line is also available to the general public. For more information, please contact Amanda Gan at the New Jersey Department of Health at
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