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Ibogaine: a review

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The chapter discusses ibogaine, which is a naturally occurring plant alkaloid with a history of use as a medicinal and ceremonial agent in West Central Africa and 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. The chapter discusses the first International Conference on Ibogaine. A major focus of the Conference was the possible mechanism(s) of action of ibogaine. Another important focus of the Conference was to discuss 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 U.S and Europe. Ibogaine is the most abundant alkaloid in the root bark of the Apocynaceous shrub Tabernanthe iboga, which grows in West Central Africa. The chapter presents a timeline that outlines the historical events relating to the development of ibogaine as a treatment for drug dependence. Ibogaine and serotonin both contain an indole ring in their structure, and ibogaine has been shown to bind to the serotonin transporter and to increase serotonin levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Stereotypy is a methodologic issue that might explain some of the disparate results regarding ibogaine’s interaction with the locomotor response to cocaine.

Alper, K. R. (2001). Ibogaine: a review. The alkaloids: Chemistry and Biology, 56, 1-38.
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