Erowid References Database
The Alkaloids. 2001;56.
Ibogaine, a naturally occurring plant alkaloid with a history of use as a medicinal and ceremonial agent in West Central Africa, has been alleged to be effective in the treatment of drug abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has given significant support to animal research, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Phase I studies in humans. Evidence for ibogaine’s effectiveness includes a substantial preclinical literature on reduced drug self-administration and withdrawal in animals, and case reports in humans. There is relatively little financial incentive for its development by the pharmaceutical industry because ibogaine is isolated from a botanical source in which it naturally occurs, and its chemical structure cannot be patented. This has left the academic community and the public sector with a crucial role in research on ibogaine, which was a major reason for organizing the First International Conference on Ibogaine.
A major focus of the Conference was the possible mechanism(s) of action of ibogaine. Ibogaine is of interest because it appears to have a novel mechanism of action distinct from other existing pharmacotherapeutic approaches to addiction, and it potentially could provide a paradigm for understanding the neurobiology of addiction and the development of new treatments. Another important focus of the Conference was to review human experience with ibogaine and preclinical and clinical evidence of efficacy and safety. The Conference also featured presentations related to the sociological and anthropological aspects of the sacramental context of the use of iboga in Africa and the distinctive ibogaine subculture of the United States and Europe.
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