Effects of ibogaine on acute signs of morphine withdrawal in rats: Independence from tremor

Abstract

Because of the claim that ibogaine suppresses the symptoms of "narcotic withdrawal" in humans, the effect of ibogaine on naltrexone-precipitated withdrawal signs in morphine-dependent rats was assessed. Morphine was administered subcutaneously through implanted silicone reservoirs for 5 days. Ibogaine (20, 40 or 80 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline was administered 30 min prior to challenge with naltrexone (1 mg/kg, i.p.) and withdrawal signs were counted for the following 2 hr. Ibogaine (40 and 80 mg/kg) significantly reduced the occurrence of four signs (wet-dog shakes, grooming, teeth chattering and diarrhea) during naltrexone-precipitated withdrawal; three other signs (weight loss, burying and flinching) were unaffected. Ibogaine induces head and body tremors lasting for 2-3 hr and the tremors might have interfered with the expression of opioid withdrawal. To examine this issue, another experiment was conducted in which ibogaine (40 mg/kg) or saline was administered 4 hr prior to challenge with naltrexone. Although there was a complete absence of tremors, ibogaine still significantly reduced the occurrence of the same four signs of withdrawal.

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