Breaking the Habit; An Evaluation of Ibogaine as a Viable Treatment for Opioid Dependence and Withdrawal
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It is the aim of this review to analyse what is known of ibogaines mechanism of action, risk and toxicology and to evaluate its role in combating drug addiction. Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive indole alkaloid, which has long been used to treat substance-related disorders in a global medical subculture. Following anecdotal reports from the subculture, research in recent years has been focused on the elucidation of ibogaine’s mechanism of action. Support for its efficacy in combating opioid withdrawal and dependence has been derived from a variety of studies on animal models for addiction. The mechanism of ibogaines action as an anti-addictive agent is still largely unknown; however its pharmacological profile is seen to involve interactions with a large host of neurotransmitter systems implicated in addiction. Because of this it is hypothesized that ibogaines actions may be related to second messenger system functioning thus allowing it longer action than the duration of its receptor occupancy. Ibogaine provides a plethora of exciting research avenues to be explored that differ vastly from current replacement and monoamine reuptake therapies used to combat of opioid addiction.