What Is Zaza Red?

In the United States, Zaza Red (tianeptine) is commonly sold over the counter at local gas stations or online under various names and marketed as a dietary supplement or nootropic, a designer drug that claims to enhance brain function.

Many people turn to Zaza Red in an attempt to self-medicate their opioid addiction and reduce withdrawal symptoms but instead find something equally addictive and dangerous.

On March 15th, 2021, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADHP) officially banned Zaza Red and declared all tianeptine-based products as Schedule II controlled substances illegal to sell or possess. Less than a week after the ban, local poison centers and emergency departments began seeing extreme withdrawal cases.

Other states took notice and saw trends similar to Alabama and have made moves to enact Zaza Red bans, hoping the federal government will follow suit to avoid another potential addiction crisis.

What Is Zaza Red?

Zaza Red, sometimes called gas station dope or heroin, is a different name for a chemically unique and highly addictive drug called tianeptine.

In Europe, Asia, and Latin America, tianeptine is a legal but controlled substance mainly used as an antidepressant. However, it has largely fallen out of use for more effective, less addictive alternatives.

Zaza Red comes in capsule, pill, liquid, or bulk powder forms that people will swallow and dissolve into a liquid to drink, smoke, or inject.

Other common names for Zaza Red (tianeptine) in the United States include:

  • Tianna/Tianaa/Tiana
  • Red Dawn
  • Tianna Red
  • Tianna White
  • Zaza
  • Tia
  • Zaza White
  • Zaza Silver
  • Tianeptine sulfate
  • Tianeptine sodium powder

Zaza White and Silver are slightly different from Zaza Red as their packages also claim to contain phenibut or kratom.

Zaza Red Ingredients

The primary ingredient in Zaza Red, tianeptine, is a tricyclic antidepressant. Recreational users and some researchers consider Zaza Red closer to an opioid because, unlike other antidepressants, tianeptine binds to the MU opioid receptors in the brain, the same places that opioids like heroin and fentanyl bind.

Because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate Zaza Red and sellers import it from overseas, there is no guarantee that each batch of Zaza Red contains the same dose or ingredients.

Any company that markets something as a proprietary blend is not legally required to disclose its ingredients. In tested batches of Zaza Red, most identified ingredients were filler, like dried plant material, baking soda, or liquid vegetable fat and dyes.

Zaza Red Pills

Zaza Red pills are commonly sold over the counter in local gas stations, convenience stores, or online retailers. The Zaza Red high-dose pills are usually labeled Zaza Red Max or Zaza Red Extra Strength. Generally, Zaza pills for sale come in packages with 15 capsules.

The average Zaza Red pill can contain between 12 to 700 mg of tianeptine. For comparison, in countries where it is legal and used as an antidepressant, the average dose of tianeptine is 20 to 50 mg.

zaza red ingredients

Zaza Red Extra Strength

Zaza Red Extra Strength pills and liquid shots generally have higher doses of tianeptine than other versions; some also add caffeine for extra stimulation. Most Zaza Red Extra Strength supplements contain 700mg and recommend that as the daily dose.

Zaza Red ingredients, primarily tianeptine, have a short half-life, meaning they wear off quickly. Users with a tolerance tend to favor Zaza Red Extra strength pills because of the higher doses. However, Zaza Red reviews and people interviewed in medical studies reported that while the effects from Zaza Red high-dose pills were intense, they didn’t last much longer than any other type or dose.

Some Zaza Red users reported consuming roughly 3000mg of Zaza Red Extra Strength daily to experience the effects and avoid withdrawal.

Zaza Red Side Effects

The side effects of Zaza Red will vary based on the dose and if it is taken with other drugs and alcohol.

Because Zaza Red is similar to antidepressants, combining it with alcohol will cause additional effects and risks. Taking other drugs that interact with the same Mu opioid receptors as Zaza pill ingredients will cause exaggerated sedation effects that can be life-threatening.

Zaza Red’s side effects include the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Burst of energy
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vivid or disturbing dreams
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Delayed response time
  • Loss of coordination
  • Sweating
  • Twitching
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Overdose
  • Withdrawal

Interestingly, a study of Zaza Red users found that the most common drugs taken simultaneously were other legal highs like kratom and phenibut, which are associated with treating opioid withdrawals.

Zaza Red Withdrawal

Zaza Red withdrawal can begin as soon as one to two hours after the last dose, with some medical professionals describing it as worse than opioid withdrawal. The longer and higher amounts of Zaza Red someone has been taking, the more severe the withdrawal will be.

Unfortunately, due to how addictive Zaza Red is, most people develop a strong tolerance very quickly and have intense, sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Shortly after banning Zaza Red, Georgia, and Alabama saw an influx of unexplained, severe withdrawal cases, with some people ending up in Intensive Care Units (ICU). Eventually, they concluded that people were suffering Zaza Red withdrawal.

Zaza Red withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Involuntary twitching and spasms
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Chills
  • Brain zaps, or sudden nerve shocks that can be painful
  • Depression
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Delerium
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Seizures

For Zaza Red withdrawal, medical detox is often a necessity rather than an option. Reducing withdrawal’s awful physical and psychological symptoms makes patients more agreeable to entering follow-up treatment programs and can reduce their risk of developing protracted withdrawal syndrome.

Because so many people who buy Zaza Red use it to self-medicate opioid withdrawal, it shows a willingness to quit substance abuse altogether but a lack of knowledge and resources about how to do it properly. Residential treatment centers that offer support and education away from their daily habits and triggers are often the best option.

zaza red withdrawal

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