Ibogaine-like effects of noribogaine in rats

Abstract

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring alkaloid that has been claimed to be effective in treating addiction to opioids and stimulants; a single dose is claimed to be effective for 6 months. Analogously, studies in rats have demonstrated prolonged (one or more days) effects of ibogaine on morphine and cocaine self-administration even though ibogaine is mostly eliminated from the body in several hours. These observations have suggested that a metabolite may mediate some of the effects of ibogaine. Recently, noribogaine was identified as a metabolite of ibogaine. Accordingly, the present study sought to determine, in rats, whether noribogaine had pharmacological effects mimicking those of ibogaine. Noribogaine (40 mg/kg) was found to decrease morphine and cocaine self-administration, reduce the locomotor stimulant effect of morphine, and decrease extracellular levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens and striatum. All of these effects were similar to effects previously observed with ibogaine (40 mg/kg); however, noribogaine did not induce any ibogaine-like tremors. The results suggest that noribogaine may be a mediator of ibogaine's putative anti-addictive effects.

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