Effects of iboga alkaloids on morphine and cocaine self-administration in rats: relationship to tremorigenic effects and to effects on dopamine release in nucleus accumbens and striatum

Brain Res. 1994 Sep 19;657(1-2):14-22. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(94)90948-2.


Ibogaine, a naturally occurring alkaloid, has been claimed to be effective in treating addiction to opioid and stimulant drugs and has been reported to decrease morphine and cocaine self-administration in rats. The present study sought to determine if other iboga alkaloids, as well as the chemically related harmala alkaloid harmaline, would also reduce the intravenous self-administration of morphine and cocaine in rats. Because both ibogaine and harmaline induce tremors, an effect that may be causally related to neurotoxicity in the cerebellar vermis, the temorigenic activities of the other iboga alkaloids were assessed. Lastly, in view of the involvement of the dopaminergic mesolimbic system in the actions of drugs of abuse, the effects of some of the iboga alkaloids on extracellular levels of dopamine and its metabolites in the nucleus accumbens and striatum were determined. All of the tested alkaloids (i.e., ibogaine, tabernanthine, R- and S-coronaridine, R- and S-ibogamine, desethylcoronaridine, and harmaline) dose-dependently (2.5-80 mg/kg) decreased morphine and cocaine intake in the hour after treatment; decreases in morphine and cocaine intake intake were also apparent the day after administration of some but not all of these alkaloids (i.e., ibogaine, tabernanthine, desethylcoronaridine, and the R-isomers of coronaridine and ibogamine). In some rats, there were persistent decreases in morphine or cocaine intake for several days after a single injection or after two or three weekly injections of one or another of these alkaloids; R-ibogamine produced such effects more consistently than any of the other alkaloids.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / adverse effects
  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Cocaine*
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Harmaline / adverse effects
  • Harmaline / pharmacology
  • Ibogaine / adverse effects
  • Ibogaine / pharmacology
  • Microdialysis
  • Morphine Dependence / prevention & control*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Self Administration
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Tremor / chemically induced*


  • Alkaloids
  • Ibogaine
  • Harmaline
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine