Ibogaine in the treatment of substance dependence.

Abstract

Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid derived from Tabernanthe iboga, a plant used in initiatory rituals in West Central Africa. Largely because of ibogaine’s status as a Schedule I substance in the U.S., the development of ibogaine’s use in the treatment of drug addiction took place outside conventional clinical and medical settings. This article reviews the history of ibogaine’s use in the treatment of drug addiction, and discusses progress made towards, and obstacles blocking, the establishment of controlled clinical trials of ibogaine’s efficacy. Preclinical research has generally supported anecdotal claims that ibogaine attenuates withdrawal symptoms and reduces drug cravings. Concerns about ibogaine’s safety, as well as a dearth of solid data from human studies, have hampered progress in its development as an approved medication. This article outlines major findings from preclinical studies, discusses concerns about ibogaine’s safety, and details previous and ongoing research on ibogaine’s use as an anti-addictive treatment for humans.

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