ZaZa Drug: Uses, Side Effects, Addiction, Warning

What drug is ZaZa?

ZaZa drug is the street name of tianeptine, an antidepressant that is approved for use in several European countries but not approved in the United States. According to a new paper published in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology, the drug structurally resembles tricyclic antidepressants, some of the earliest depression treatments.

Tianeptine is most commonly used for depression. It is also used for pain, asthma, anxiety, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. However, it has become a drug of abuse sporadically in the United States since at least 2000 “due to its strong affinity at the mu-opioid receptors and through increases in extracellular dopamine concentrations throughout cerebral tissue.

tianeptine tablets

Is ZaZa drug addictive?

Zaza drug is considered as a highly addictive drug by the FDA. Recent stories of Tianeptine use have caused health professionals to examine addictive properties of the drug and its potential for harm. Not only does long-term use of the drug create withdrawal effects, but it can open the door to someone seeking other Opioids or Opioid-like substances.

Is  ZaZa drug (Tianeptine) legal?

Several countries that initially approved tianeptine have since either removed it from sale or restricted its use due to concerns about risks for abuse. In 2005, France modified the labeling of tianeptine to warn of potential addiction, particularly in patients with a history of substance use disorders. Since 2012, it has been subject to France’s narcotics regulations, which place restrictions on prescribing and dispensing. Russia, Armenia, Ukraine and Turkey have classified tianeptine as a controlled substance. In 2010, the country of Georgia withdrew the drug from the market. In the U.S., in response to a series of tianeptine overdoses, Michigan recently placed the drug on its list of controlled dangerous substances. Similar legislation is being considered in AlabamaMinnesota and New York.

What are the side effects of ZaZa drug?

Tianeptine is unsafe. Tianeptine has been associated with dependence, withdrawal, and serious adverse events including death. While tianeptine is available by prescription in certain countries, it has a risk of misuse and abuse. Taking high doses of tianeptine can cause:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma, and death.

Use of tianeptine over a long time can cause withdrawal.

Safety Information

In 2018, based on findings from the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN), the agency sent warning letters to two companies illegally marketing tianeptine-containing products labeled as dietary supplements claiming to treat opioid use disorder, pain and anxiety, among other unlawful and unproven claims. Also, in 2018, the CDC published a study that, among other findings, showed that calls about tianeptine exposure to U.S. poison control centers increased between 2014 and 2017, suggesting a possible emerging public health risk. Reported adverse effects included neurologic, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal signs and symptoms, with some effects mimicking opioid toxicity and withdrawal.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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