J Anal Toxicol 2018 09;42(7):503-509
Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, 1861 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, TX, USA.
Tianeptine is a tricyclic anti-depressant that is also known to have opioid receptor activity. We present two fatal cases of tianeptine intoxication in Texas in which tianeptine was used recreationally. The first case involved a 28-year-old white male found alone on the floor of his locked residence. He had a history of drug abuse but no other toxicological findings. The second case involved a 30-year-old white male found on the floor of the bathroom in his home. Drug paraphernalia and bags labeled as tianeptine powder were found at both scenes. In response to the first case, our laboratory developed a method for quantitation of tianeptine by LC-MS-MS. This method was then validated according to SWGTOX guidelines for specificity, calibration model, limit of detection, limit of quantitation, accuracy, precision, ion suppression, and carryover. This method was successfully used to determine tianeptine concentrations in postmortem blood in two cases. In these cases, tianeptine was measured at 2.0 mg/L and 8.4 mg/L. These represent the first known tianeptine fatalities in Texas and in the United States.