Ibogaine is an extract from the iboga plant, native to Africa. For the past few decades there has been growing interest in its use in therapy for substance use disorders.

Mortality Risk From Ibogaine

(Mortality Risk From Ibogaine) "All available autopsy, toxicological, and investigative reports were systematically reviewed for the consecutive series of all known fatalities outside of West Central Africa temporally related to the use of ibogaine from 1990 through 2008. Nineteen individuals (15 men, four women between 24 and 54 years old) are known to have died within 1.5-76 h of taking ibogaine. The clinical and postmortem evidence did not suggest a characteristic syndrome of neurotoxicity.

Ibogaine's Legal Status

Laws and Policies

(Ibogaine's Legal Status) "Having been discovered by a drug addict, rather than by scientists in a laboratory, ibogaine has been condemned from the very beginning.133 Classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, ibogaine is listed in the same category with the very drugs it counteracts because its hallucinogenic properties arguably outweigh its medicinal value."

Ibogaine and Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF)

(Ibogaine and Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF)) "Ibogaine is a natural alkaloid reported to reverse the adverse actions of multiple drugs of abuse including opiates, psychostimulants, nicotine and alcohol in humans, as well as in rodent models (Popik et al., 1995; Mash et al., 1998; Glick & Maisonneuve, 2000; Alper et al., 2008; Maciulaitis et al., 2008).

Ibogaine and Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF)

(Ibogaine and Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF)) "In summary, repeated administration of drugs of abuse and alcohol induces a common pattern of changes in gene expression and protein levels selectively in the VTA [ventral tegmental area]. A subset of these changes is reversed by intra-VTA GDNF [glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor], as are some of the drug-induced behavioral effects. Endogenous GDNF systems appear to inhibit drug related behaviors, while repeated drug administration appears to inhibit GDIVF signaling itself.

Side Effects From Ibogaine

(Side Effects From Ibogaine) "Although ibogaine has been reported to effectively reduce drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms in addicts (Sheppard, 1994), its tremorigenic, hallucinogenic, neurotoxic, and cardiovascular side effects (see Alper, 2001) have prevented its approval as a treatment for addiction. On the other hand, 18-methoxycoronaridine, although not yet tested in humans, has no apparent side effects in rats, presumably because it is more selective pharmacologically than ibogaine."

Rodent Studies of Ibogaine and Clinical Safety

(Rodent Studies of Ibogaine and Clinical Safety) "Based on anecdotal reports in humans, ibogaine has been claimed [1] to be effective in interrupting dependence on opioids, stimulants, alcohol and nicotine. Preclinical studies in rats have supported these claims: ibogaine has been reported to decrease the i.v. self-administration of morphine [2] and cocaine [3] and the oral intake of alcohol [4] and nicotine [5].

Side Effects of Ibogaine

(Side Effects of Ibogaine) "Despite its attractive properties, ibogaine is not approved as an addiction treatment because of the induction of side effects such as hallucinations. In addition, ibogaine at high doses causes degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells (O'Hearn and Molliver, 1993, 1997) and whole-body tremors and ataxia (Glick et al., 1992; O'Hearn and Molliver, 1993) in rats."

Rodent Studies of Ibogaine

(Rodent Studies of Ibogaine) "Studies also suggest that ibogaine attenuates drug- and ethanol-induced behaviors in rodents. For example, ibogaine reduces operant self-administration of heroin in rats, as well as naloxone-precipitated withdrawal in morphine-dependent rats (Glick et al., 1992; Dworkin et al., 1995). Administration of ibogaine decreases cocaine-induced locomotor activity and reduces cocaine self-administration in rats (Cappendijk and Dzoljic, 1993) and mice (Sershen et al., 1994)."