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J Psychedelic Stud. 2017 Nov;1(2):65-73. doi: 10.1556/2054.01.2017.009. Epub 2017 Oct 17.

Subjective effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for problematic opioid consumption: Short- and long-term outcomes and current psychological functioning.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
2
Crossroads Treatment Center, Rosarito, Mexico.
3
Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.

Abstract

Background and aims:

Very few studies have reported the effectiveness of ibogaine as a treatment for chronic opioid use. Therefore, this study evaluated the acute subjective effects of ibogaine, outcomes on problematic opioid consumption, and the long-term associations with psychological functioning.

Methods:

Using online data collection, 88 patients who received ibogaine treatment in Mexico between 2012 and 2015 completed our survey.

Results:

Most participants (72%) had used opioids for at least 4 years and 69% reported daily use. Most (80%) indicated that ibogaine eliminated or drastically reduced withdrawal symptoms. Fifty percent reported that ibogaine reduced opioid craving, some (25%) reporting a reduction in craving lasting at least 3 months. Thirty percent of participants reported never using opioids again following ibogaine treatment. And over one half (54%) of these abstainers had been abstinent for at least 1 year, with 31% abstinent for at least 2 years. At the time of survey, 41% of all participants reported sustained abstinence (>6 months). Although 70% of the total sample reported a relapse following treatment, 48% reported decreased use from pretreatment levels and an additional 11% eventually achieved abstinence. Treatment responders had the lowest rates of depressive and anxious symptoms, the highest levels of subjective well-being and rated their ibogaine treatment as more spiritually meaningful compared with treatment non-responders.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that ibogaine is associated with reductions in opioid use, including complete abstinence, and has long-term positive psychological outcomes. Future research should investigate the efficacy of ibogaine treatment using rigorous longitudinal and controlled designs.

KEYWORDS:

effectiveness; heroin; ibogaine; outcomes; prescription opioids

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