Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine: a retrospective study

J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Nov;28(11):993-1000. doi: 10.1177/0269881114552713. Epub 2014 Sep 29.


Ibogaine is an alkaloid purported to be an effective drug dependence treatment. However, its efficacy has been hard to evaluate, partly because it is illegal in some countries. In such places, treatments are conducted in underground settings where fatalities have occurred. In Brazil ibogaine is unregulated and a combined approach of psychotherapy and ibogaine is being practiced to treat addiction. To evaluate the safety and efficacy of ibogaine, we conducted a retrospective analysis of data from 75 previous alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and crack users (72% poly-drug users). We observed no serious adverse reactions or fatalities, and found 61% of participants abstinent. Participants treated with ibogaine only once reported abstinence for a median of 5.5 months and those treated multiple times for a median of 8.4 months. This increase was statistically significant (p < 0.001), and both single or multiple treatments led to longer abstinence periods than before the first ibogaine session (p < 0.001). These results suggest that the use of ibogaine supervised by a physician and accompanied by psychotherapy can facilitate prolonged periods of abstinence, without the occurrence of fatalities or complications. These results suggest that ibogaine can be a safe and effective treatment for dependence on stimulant and other non-opiate drugs.

Keywords: Ibogaine; addiction; cocaine; crack; dependence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects
  • Hallucinogens / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ibogaine / adverse effects
  • Ibogaine / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Psychotherapy
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Hallucinogens
  • Ibogaine