Neptune’s Fix products sold nationwide are being recalled because they contain tianeptine – also known as “gas station heroin” – a substance linked to addiction and fatal overdoses.
All of the brand’s products – including Neptune Fix Elixir, Neptune Fix Extra Strength Elixir and Neptune Fix Tablets – are being recalled due to their use of tianeptine, the company behind the brand, Neptune Resources, said on Sunday , in a press release published by Food and Drug Administration. The agency has not approved tianeptine for medical use.
The FDA recommends a “reasonable likelihood of life-threatening events, including suicidal ideation or behavior, for children, adolescents, and young adults 25 years of age and younger,” with other risks, including unintentional overdoses, a Neptune declared. Tests of Neptune’s Fix-branded bottles also revealed the presence of mind-altering substances mixed with tianeptine, including synthetic cannabinoids – artificial versions of marijuana’s main ingredient.
“Several bottles of Neptune’s Fix were tested. Substances identified included tianeptine, kava, two synthetic cannabinoids and two plant cannabinoids,” Alicia Gambino, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Poison Control Center, said in an email.
“Happiness in a bottle”
Neptune’s Fix had been marketed by the company as “bliss in a bottle” with effects “better than Kratom.” While some other countries have approved tianeptine as a prescription medication for anxiety and depression, the FDA has not green-lighted its use.
The recall follows severalon the Neptune brand as well as other products containing tianeptine, with reports of bad reactions involving the drug increasing in the United States
For its part, Neptune Resources urged the FDA to crack down on counterfeits mixed with drugs other than tianeptine, which it says are responsible for the recent increase in seizures and hospitalizations reported following the use of its products. .
In its recall announcement, Neptune Resources said its bottles were only sold in amber glass bottles with “retractable” labels covering the entire product. This is different from other bottles pictured in FDA warnings, with screw caps and only a simpler label affixed around the product.
Distributed to wholesale and retail customers across the country, the recalled products can be identified by the Neptune’s Fix name and its logo, an illustration of the Roman god with a green beard and a trident, according to the Kansas City, Mo.-based company .
People who purchased the recalled products should stop using them and destroy or return the item to the place of purchase. Those with questions can contact Neptune at 816-256-2071, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time.
Tianeptine poisoning on the rise
Cases at poison centers involving tianeptine exceeded 150 in 2020 alone, compared to 11 cases between 2000 and 2013. Its harmful effects include “agitation, drowsiness, confusion, sweating, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, slowed or stopped breathing, coma and death,” according to the agency.
In 2023, at least 391 cases of exposure to tianeptine were reported to poison centers, a spokesperson for the U.S. Poison Control Centers told CBS News, up from 105 in 2019. Most came from adults intentionally using products containing the ingredient to get high.
New Jersey has identified two clusters of poisoning cases involving tianeptine “falsely marketed and sold online at gas stations across the state as a dietary supplement,” its health department warned in November. It also warned of “serious health complications and even death” from its use.
In October, authorities learned of 10 additional tianeptine poisonings in New Jersey and specifically attributed the cases to products such as Neptune’s Fix, Neptune’s Fix Elixir and Pegasus Silver.
More than half of the affected patients suffered central nervous system (CNS) depression and seizures after ingestion, with some requiring hospitalization and intubation, the state advisory said. Others arrived at the hospital with slurred speech, altered mental status, agitation, chest discomfort, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), tremors, hallucinations, urinary retention, vomiting and lethargy, the press release added.
A representative for Neptune’s Fix said he suspected serious injuries resulting from the use of their products were likely the result of counterfeits manufactured by a New York-based rival that the company said were laced with cannabinoids and other substances.
“I had a hard time convincing the FDA to turn their attention to the counterfeiter,” the person said in a message to CBS News.
An FDA spokesperson declined multiple requests for comment.
Earlier this month, five lawmakers called on FDA Commissioner Robert Califf to do more to reduce the use of tianeptine, noting that the agency first warned against the drug in 2018 The agency has received several reports of serious medical injuries related to Neptune’s Fix, it said at gas stations and amenities. stores in January, urging them to stop selling the brand and any other products containing tianeptine.
Several states have also taken steps to ban tianeptine products, in an effort to reduce reliance on what the FDA describes as an unapproved and illegally marketed drug.
—With reporting by Alexander Tin of CBS News
Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from www.cbsnews.com