Fatalities temporally associated with the ingestion of ibogaine

J Forensic Sci. 2012 Mar;57(2):398-412. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.02008.x. Epub 2012 Jan 23.


Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive plant alkaloid that is used globally in medical and nonmedical settings for opioid detoxification and other substance use indications. 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. Advanced preexisting medical comorbidities, which were mainly cardiovascular, and/or one or more commonly abused substances explained or contributed to the death in 12 of the 14 cases for which adequate postmortem data were available. Other apparent risk factors include seizures associated with withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines and the uninformed use of ethnopharmacological forms of ibogaine.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Female
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects*
  • Hallucinogens / blood
  • Humans
  • Ibogaine / adverse effects*
  • Ibogaine / blood
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Peptic Ulcer / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures / complications
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Young Adult


  • Hallucinogens
  • Ibogaine