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What Is Amineptine?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Amineptine is a medication that has only limited availability. First produced in France in the late 1970s and called Survector®, it was modeled on other tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), although it is called an atypical TCA because it has slightly different action. Use of the medication created pronounced problems in a high percentage of people that warranted its removal from French markets. In places like the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never approved its use. People may sometimes find this medication available in their country of origin or online, but they should be certain they understand the potential side effects.

Many TCAs are selected serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRIs. Amineptine, in contrast, inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine. In limited trials it seemed to function as well or better than some of the selected serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac®. Especially in the US, there haven’t been a number of studies on the drug because it may never be approved, given data gathered from other countries where it was sold.

One of the initial concerns about amineptine was that people began abusing it quickly. Those taking it noticed stimulant effects, producing a high, which many described as pleasant or euphoric. As a result, requests for the drug rose, or people sold their own prescriptions to others. The high typically didn’t remain with continued use and only could be experienced with occasional use.

As amineptine was prescribed more in France and a few other countries, additional reports manifested about potentially dangerous side effects. One of the most alarming concerned the possibility that the medication might cause liver damage or predispose some users to hepatitis. Other unpleasant or potentially dangerous side effects were linked to amineptine, including severe cases of acne, anaphylactic shock, and symptoms of excitation like akathisia and difficulty sleeping. It is presumed that teens and young adults taking it were probably at increased risk for suicidality and that people with bipolar disorder who took the medicine might develop mania or hypomania.

Rarely, low blood pressure and palpitations were seen with amineptine. A more concerning issue was the rumored potential for the drug to cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. The matter of antidepressant addiction is being more fully studied, and it appears there are a number of drugs that create withdrawal syndrome. Some of those most indicated are similar to typical tricyclic antidepressants and are SNRIs. Since amineptine acts in a similar way, it may hazard the same risks.

It’s difficult to recommend use of a medication that has been discontinued in many countries and not approved in others because of concerns about its safety. If people are interested in trying this TCA, it’s highly recommended they discuss their plans with a competent physician: preferably a psychiatrist with expertise in psychopharmacology. People are not advised to initiate amineptine therapy without the guidance and approval of a physician.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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