MAPS is collecting observational data for the first prospective ibogaine outcome studies in order to contribute to the growing scientific literature about ibogaine as a treatment for drug addiction.
Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid naturally occurring in the West African shrub iboga. While ibogaine is a mild stimulant in small doses, in larger doses it induces a profound psychedelic state. Historically, it has been used in healing ceremonies and initiations by members of the Bwiti religion in various parts of West Africa. People with problem substance use have found that larger doses of ibogaine can significantly reduce withdrawal from opiates and temporarily eliminate substance-related cravings.
See below for a complete timeline of MAPS' ibogaine therapy research.
image: Christopher Hansen
Although first-hand accounts indicate that ibogaine is unlikely to be popular as a recreational drug, ibogaine remains classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States (it is also scheduled in Belgium and Switzerland). Yet despite its classification as a drug with a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” people who struggle with substance abuse continue to seek out international clinics or underground providers to receive ibogaine treatment.
By some estimates, ibogaine use has a mortality rate of about 1 in 300. Deaths from ibogaine have been attributed to bradycardia (slowing of the heart), lethal combinations with other substances, liver problems, and other conditions. Anyone interested in using ibogaine to treat substance abuse should carefully weigh the risks and benefits of treatment, and should ensure that medical assistance is available during the session.
For more information about the risks and benefits of ibogaine treatment, see ibogaine.co.uk.
Observational Study of the Long-Term Efficacy of Ibogaine-Assisted Therapy (Mexico)
Principal Investigator: Thomas Brown, Ph.D.
This observational case study is examining changes in substance use in individuals seeking ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at two independent ibogaine clinics in Mexico. This study is intended to gather information to evaluate whether ibogaine-assisted therapy helps opiate-dependent people to implement positive changes in their drug use patterns and in their lives. Twelve-month follow-up data will be collected from participants in the study to examine whether ibogaine-assisted therapy facilitates improvements in quality of life that result in decreased harms associated with chronic or mismanaged opiate use. The study is fully approved and began enrollment on August 23, 2010.
Observational Study of the Long-Term Efficacy of Ibogaine-Assisted Therapy (New Zealand)
Principal Investigator: Geoff Noller, Ph.D.
This study is taking place at an independent ibogaine clinic in New Zealand. Its purpose is to examine the safety and long-term effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for opioid addiction severity and quality of life in 20 to 30 patients. This is an observational study (meaning that researchers do not administer the drug in the study but only survey people who have already been treated).
The study was approved by the Ethics Committee on February 22, 2012.
This study has all necessary approvals and is now enrolling subjects.
MAPS has contributed $15,000 to this study, which was made possible by a generous $25,000 grant for ibogaine research from Matt and Kristi Bowden of Stargate International. This study will complement our ongoing ibogaine research program in Mexico, to which the remaining $10,000 of the Bowdens’ donation will be allocated.
Donations are needed to support research into ibogaine as a treatment for substance abuse and dependence. MAPS will allocate 100% of any donation specifically restricted to this work upon request.
On September 20, 2013, the 10th subject was enrolled in our ongoing observational study of ibogaine-assisted treatment for opioid dependence in New Zealand. In this study, Principal Investigator Geoff Noller, Ph.D., is collecting follow-up data from up to 30 subjects undergoing treatment at an independent ibogaine center in New Zealand.
New Zealand: Ninth Subject Enrolled; Treatment Death Pauses Enrollment and Raises Safety Concerns
On August 23, 2013, the ninth subject was enrolled in our ongoing observational study of ibogaine-assisted treatment for opioid dependence in New Zealand. In this study, Principal Investigator Geoff Noller, Ph.D., is collecting follow-up data from subjects undergoing treatment at an independent ibogaine center in New Zealand. Dr. Noller was previously collecting data from two treatment centers, but one of these centers has now closed due to a recent death in treatment at a time when the patient was not under medical supervision. The death has raised significant concerns in the New Zealand ibogaine treatment community, and emphasizes the importance of establishing clear treatment protocols, which were not followed at the facility where the death took place. Treatments were halted at both facilities after the death but have resumed at the facility with a continued record of no significant health issues and where patients are continually monitored. Dr. Noller reported that he felt “very confident” in the remaining provider’s practice and anticipates that the study is likely to be completed in Spring 2015.
New Zealand Ibogaine Study Receives Generous Donation
On January 11, 2013, Principal Investigator Geoff Noller, Ph.D., reported that our ongoing observational study of ibogaine treatment for opioid dependence in New Zealand had received an additional donation of about $10,000 from Matt and Kristi Bowden’s Stargate International Trust. The grant, which follows the Bowdens’ earlier $25,000 donation to MAPS-sponsored ibogaine projects in New Zealand and Mexico, could not have come at a better time, says Dr. Noller. “With the study gaining momentum, we’re beginning to draw participants and interest in general, from around the country. While this is great news for ibogaine research in New Zealand, it also means extra resources are required, as each participant must be introduced to the study and then followed up on a monthly basis.”
Ideally the research team aims to meet with each potential participant before their treatment, to build rapport for what will hopefully be a 12-month relationship between researchers and subjects. Despite recruitment starting slowly in 2012, the recent increase in interest suggests the target of between 20 to 30 participants will be met, although the initial 18-month recruitment period may be extended to two years.
New Zealand Ibogaine Study Enrolls Sixth and Seventh Subjects
On January 9, 2013, the seventh participant was enrolled in our ongoing observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in New Zealand. The sixth subject was enrolled on December 8, 2012. This study will enroll from 20 to 30 participants, all receiving methadone treatment for opiate addiction and being treated for methadone dependence at independent ibogaine clinics in New Zealand.
On November 9, 2012, the fifth participant was enrolled in our ongoing observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in New Zealand. All participants had been receiving methadone treatment for opiate addiction and are being treated for methadone dependence at independent ibogaine clinics in New Zealand. The study was approved by the IRB on February 22, 2012, and lead investigator Dr. Geoff Noller, Ph.D., began enrollment shortly thereafter. This study is the second in our international series of observational studies of the safety and long-term effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for addiction, building on our completed study in Mexico.
Ibogaine Researcher Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., Presents at Global Ibogaine Therapist Alliance
From October 2-6, 2012, the Global Ibogaine Therapist Alliance (GITA) conference in Vancouver, Canada, gathered international researchers and ibogaine treatment providers to discuss current science and policy surrounding the use of ibogaine in ritual and clinical practice. MAPS-sponsored researcher Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., was invited to present twice during the conference the results of our recently completed study of ibogaine treatment for opiate addiction in Mexico.
In his first presentation to GITA members on October 5, Brown discussed the importance of documenting and publishing outcome data from observational research and encouraged ibogaine treatment providers to maintain and share records of treatments. On October 6, Brown participated in a public forum on ibogaine treatment along with a panel of researchers and providers. Keep an eye out for the full conference report in the upcoming Winter 2012 edition of the MAPS Bulletin.
Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction: Last Subject Completes Follow-Up in Mexico Study
On September 10, 2012, the 30th and final subject completed the 12-month follow-up in our observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in Mexico. This will be first long-term outcome study ever conducted with ibogaine in the treatment of addiction. In this study, Principal Investigator Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., is observing the long-term effects of ibogaine treatment for individuals undergoing treatment at an independent clinic in Mexico. Data from this study will be compared with our concurrent, ongoing study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in New Zealand.
Ibogaine for Addiction: First Two Subjects Enrolled in New Zealand Study
On July 16, 2012, the first two participants were enrolled in our recently initiated observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in New Zealand. Both of these individuals are suffering from methadone dependence and are receiving treatment at independent ibogaine clinics in New Zealand. This study is the second in our international series of observational studies of the safety and efficacy of ibogaine treatment for addiction, building on our nearly completed study in Mexico, where the final one-year follow-up evaluation will happen in September 2012.
Ibogaine: Seventh Subject Completes Follow-Up in Observational Study in Mexico
As of April 6, 2012, seven out 30 subjects had completed follow-up in our ongoing observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in Mexico. 19 out of 30 subjects are still in the follow-up portion of the study, which entails one year of evaluations for addiction and quality of life following treatment at an independent ibogaine treatment center in Mexico. Data from this study will be compared with data from our recently approved observational ibogaine study in New Zealand.
New Zealand Observational Ibogaine Study for Addiction Approved by Ethics Committee
On February 22, 2012, MAPS’ new observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in New Zealand received final approval (pdf) from the Multi-region Ethics Committee. The new study will take place at the Ibogaine Aotearoa Charitable Trust, an independent ibogaine clinic in New Zealand, and will examine the safety and long-term effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for addiction severity and quality of life in 20 to 30 patients. Since this is an observational study, the study requires no further approvals.
Dr. Geoff Noller, Ph.D., the lead investigator for the study, has now begun recruiting subjects. Dr. Noller is delighted at the recent approval of this internationally-funded study which is a new opportunity to collect quality data on an exciting development in the field of addiction treatment, work of which New Zealand is on the cutting edge. Moreover, comparing data with MAPS’ similar well-advanced study in Mexico will offer further insights into appropriate treatment regimes and international best practices regarding ibogaine. The New Zealand study is based in the South Island city of Dunedin, where the research team will work closely with I.ACT, an experienced Dunedin-based ibogaine treatment provider. Other providers throughout the country have also been approached for participation.
Ibogaine: Fourth Subject Completes Follow-Up in Observational Study in Mexico
On January 12, 2012, the fourth subject completed follow-up in our ongoing observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in Mexico. 22 out of 30 subjects are still in the follow-up portion of this study, which entails one year of evaluations of addiction and quality of life. The study’s final long-term follow-up visit is scheduled for September 2012. Data from this study will be compared with data from our soon-to-be-initiated observational ibogaine study in New Zealand.
Amendment to Ibogaine Addiction Study Approved by Review Committee
On November 17, 2011, the second protocol amendment to our ongoing observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction was approved by the Human Research Review Committee (HRRC) at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). The committee received the amendment on November 1. The purpose of this amendment was (a) to remove the control group, for which we were not able to recruit qualifying subjects; (b) add a data analysis plan to the protocol; (c) standardize the drug testing schedule so that all subjects undergo both hair and urine tests; (d) add two secondary objectives that analyze data from the drug tests and investigator ratings of well-being that have already been collected; and (e) make administrative updates such as changing the names of sections and measures. On August 29, we enrolled the 30th and final subject for this study, who will be evaluated for addiction and quality of life for a year. This study’s final visit is scheduled for September 2012.
Information has been collected for 18 out of 30 subjects in this study for their 3-month follow-up evaluations, and for 11 out of 30 subjects for their 6-month follow-up evaluation. In some cases, these data were based on reports from significant others of the subjects.
New Zealand Observational Study of Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction Receives Conditional Approval
On November 1, 2011, an independent Ethics Committee granted conditional approval for MAPS’ ibogaine research program in New Zealand, pending the submission of a few final documents.
It was particularly important to meet this deadline because only a limited number of ibogaine treatments take place in New Zealand, and the lead investigator, Geoff Noller, Ph.D. will be able to maximize the treatments to be followed by starting the study as soon as possible once it is approved. Dr. Noller has received a verbal approval from the Ethics Committee, although he is still waiting to receive a formal letter in the mail.
The new study will take place at an independent ibogaine clinic in New Zealand, and will examine the safety and long-term effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for addiction severity and quality of life in 20 to 30 patients. Since this will be an observational study (which means that MAPS does not administer a drug in the study but only surveys people who have taken a drug in the past) the protocol does not need to pass through an additional review process, meaning that we can begin enrolling subjects as soon as the study clears the Ethics Committee. Data from this study and our ongoing study of Mexican ibogaine treatment centers under the direction of investigator Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., may be used to make a case for a possible future clinical study with ibogaine. Clinical studies, by contrast, are those in which researchers administer the drug or a placebo in a controlled setting and submit the data to the FDA.
Clinical Team Prepares Protocol for New Study of Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction in New Zealand
On October 17, 2011, the lead investigators for MAPS’ ibogaine research program held a conference call to discuss the next steps for our new observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in New Zealand. Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., who leads our U.S.-based study of independent ibogaine clinics in Mexico, and Geoff Noller, Ph.D., who will lead the new study, shared perspectives and lessons from ibogaine therapy research in order to guide the development of the new study protocol. The new study will take place at an independent ibogaine clinic in New Zealand, and will examine the safety and long-term effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for addiction severity and quality of life in 20 to 30 patients. The clinical team will submit the protocol and other documents to the Ethics Committee by the end of October.
Since this will be an observational study (as opposed to clinical) the protocol does not need to pass through an additional review process, meaning that we can begin enrolling subjects as soon as the study clears the Ethics Committee. Data from this study and our ongoing study of Mexican ibogaine treatment centers may be used to make a case for a possible future clinical study (see our original ibogaine Request for Proposals).
Observational Study of Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction Enrolls Final Subject
The 30th and final subject was enrolled in our ongoing observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction on August 29, 2011. This final subject has completed treatment at an independent ibogaine clinic in Mexico and will be evaluated for addiction and quality of life for 12 months. As of October 20, 2011, 28 subjects have completed their three-month follow-up interviews, and 20 have completed the six-month follow-up interviews. Given the increasing numbers of people around the world seeking ibogaine treatment for drug addiction, this study aims to gather evidence about the safety and effectiveness of the treatment and to compare different approaches to that treatment.
Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., the lead investigator for the study, will be speaking about the goals and progress of MAPS’ ibogaine research program on Saturday, December 10 at Cartographie Psychedelica, our 25th anniversary conference in Oakland, CA.
New Study of Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction Planned for New Zealand
MAPS has agreed to donate $15,000 to a new observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction to take place in New Zealand, under the direction of Principal Investigator Geoff Noller, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago, NZ. This will be an investigator-sponsored study conducted with assistance from MAPS, and has been made possible by a generous $25,000 grant for ibogaine research from Matt and Kristi Bowden of Stargate International. This study will complement our ongoing ibogaine research program in Mexico, to which the remaining $10,000 of the Bowdens’ donation will be allocated. Like our other observational ibogaine studies, this research will investigate the long-term effects of ibogaine therapy at independent treatment centers, perhaps up to three different New Zealand clinics. This data may be used to make a case for a possible future clinical study and to evaluate differences in treatment approach and effectiveness between clinics. We are expecting to submit study documents to a New Zealand ethics committee this summer, and anticipate initiating the study in late Summer or early Fall.
Long-Term Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction Outcome Study Progresses
As of March 1, 2011, MAPS’ observational study of the long-term efficacy of ibogaine-assisted therapy for drug addiction has enrolled 16 out of 30 subjects. All participants in this study have already received ibogaine-assisted therapy at one of two independent treatment centers in Mexico, and the study is an attempt to evaluate the quality and duration of their treatment outcomes. The rationale for this study is based on the increasing numbers of people turning to ibogaine and ibogaine-assisted therapy for addiction treatment despite its high level of risk and little scientific knowledge about its long-term effectiveness. Over the course of the study, MAPS researchers use the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) to evaluate patterns of drug use including addictive behavior and overall quality of life. We are also using the States of Consciousness Questionnaire (SOCQ) to determine whether there is a correlation between the depth or intensity of the ibogaine experience and the duration of its therapeutic effects. The study also involves random drug testing of subjects to correlate data from the ASI with the results. A database is also currently under construction for managing and analyzing study data.
In the current RFP, MAPS is offering a matching grant of
$25,000 to one team of scientists who can provide an additional $25,000 or more
for the study. MAPS will award the grant to a team with the credentials and
resources to conduct a clinical trial of ibogaine, and which has the ability to
navigate the required regulatory hurdles. The team must also be willing to make
all study data public and to seek publication of the results. Interested
parties may apply by responding to the questions listed in the RFP and
Fifth Subject Enrolled in Ibogaine Study/Protocol Amended
On Nov. 22, 2010, the fifth subject was enrolled in our observational study of ibogaine treatment for opiate addiction. On Dec. 2, the research team, led by Principal Investigator (and MAPS Deputy Director) Valerie Mojeiko and Co-Investigators Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., Meg Jordan, Ph.D., R.N., and Rishi Karim Gargour, M.A., submitted an amendment to the protocol to the Human Resources Review Committee (HRRC) at the California Institute for Integral Studies, which was soon after approved on December 9. The amendment requested five changes to the protocol:
1) Increase the number of subjects from 20 to 30. This will provide more statistical power to the final analysis.
2) Add an additional site for data collection. We are adding a second clinic, also based just south of the San Diego border in Mexico, to increase the speed of subject recruitment. This clinic is similar in many ways to the other clinic from which patients are being recruited, but we will also analyze data from each clinic site separately to try to detect differences.
3) Add drug testing. Drug testing will allow us to verify information provided subjects about their substance use. Subjects will be compensated for their time spent visiting the testing center.
4) Utilize the Beck Depression Inventory. This measure, which has been used in other addiction studies of ibogaine, will track depression over the course of the study. Treatment providers have observed relief from depression in some of their clients, and this inventory will attempt to measure this purported effect of ibogaine.
5) Utilize the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire, Short Form (TEIQ-sf). This measure will allow us to explore the role that emotional intelligence may play in addiction recovery.
On Dec. 10, Valerie Mojeiko and Thomas Kingsley Brown conducted a site visit of the second clinic. They were impressed with the medical procedures used by the clinic and have decided to enroll subjects from that clinic in our study.
Valerie Mojeiko Presents at Ibogaine Conference in Barcelona, Oct. 13-16
From Oct. 13–16, MAPS Deputy Director Valerie Mojeiko will participate in an international ibogaine conference in Barcelona. She will speak about MAPS’ ibogaine outcome study. The workshop is organized by the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service, whose executive director is Ben De Loenen, the filmmaker of “Ibogaine Rites of Passage.” Presenters include Kenneth Alper, M.D., Jeff Kamlet, M.D., Rakefet Rodriguez, M.D., Antoni Aguilar Chastellain, M.D., Cleuza Canan, and Anwar Jeewa.
First Two Subjects Enroll in Ibogaine Outcome Study
On Sept. 27, the first two subjects enrolled in our new ibogaine study at Pangaea Biomedics, a treatment facility in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. It is led by Principal Investigator Valerie Mojeiko and co-investigator Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D. The researchers are collecting data from opiate-dependent subjects for one year after ibogaine-assisted detoxification to evaluate the long-term outcomes of ibogaine treatment.
Brown met with both subjects and administered the Subjective Opiate Withdrawal Scale and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). Both subjects are happy to participate, Brown said. One subject had difficulty answering all of the ASI questions because of withdrawal symptoms, so the interview was finished by phone Sept. 29.
“It feels great to have the first two subjects enrolled and to be doing this work,” Brown said.
The entire study will enroll 30 subjects and follow them for a year after treatment.
New Ibogaine for Opiate Addiction Outcome Study Ready to Begin
MAPS is embarking on a new study investigating long-term outcomes of ibogaine-assisted therapy for people with opiate addiction. Our previous ibogaine pilot study led by John Harrison, Ph.D. candidate, concluded in December 2009, with sufficient suggestions of efficacy and safety to justify expanding our research to a new, more rigorous protocol. The new study is led by MAPS Deputy Director Valerie Mojeiko, and co-led by University of California, San Diego’s Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies’ (CIIS) faculty member Meg Jordan, Ph.D., R.N., and CIIS graduate student Rishi Karim Gargour, M.A. The study follows patients at Pangea Biomedics, an ibogaine treatment center operated by Clare Wilkins in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. CIIS’ Human Research Review Committee is overseeing the safety of the project. The protocol will enroll 20 subjects, but if more funding is obtained an additional 10 subjects will be added. The study will be initiated on August 23, 2010.
The new study investigates the effectiveness of ibogaine-assisted therapy in catalyzing opiate abstinence or reduced opiate use, and improving associated behaviors over 12 months following therapy. We will further investigate the correlation between lifestyle changes and the subjective intensity of the psychedelic ibogaine experience, and observe the severity of withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate detoxification. Subjects denied treatment due to medical problems found during admission (which happens about six times a year) will be asked to enroll in a control group for comparison with the treatment group. We have applied lessons learned from our Mexican pilot study by reducing the number of visits each subject will have with researchers and eliminating some measurements of craving and pain. We are considering adding urine or hair tests to verify if a subject is opiate-free.
On June 2, MAPS Deputy Director Valerie Mojeiko submitted MAPS new protocol investigating the long-term outcomes of ibogaine treatment for people with opiate addiction for review to the Human Research Review Committee at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). The study is co-led by University of California, San Diego's Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies' (CIIS) faculty member Meg Jordan Ph.D., R.N, and CIIS graduate student Rishi Karim Gargour, M.A. The study is following patients at Pangea Biomedics in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. The protocol is designed to follow 20 subjects, but if more funding is obtained we will add an additional 10 subjects to the protocol.
The MAPS clinical research team met during our Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century conference to develop a new ibogaine outcome study. Principal Investigator Valerie Mojeiko and co-investigator Tom Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., will lead the new study. They will collect data from patients who undergo ibogaine treatment for opiate addiction at Pangea Biomedics in Tijuana, Mexico, in order to evaluate the long-term changes that follow ibogaine treatment. The team discussed details of the new protocol, one of which will add random urine tests as another assessment technique.
The previous ibogaine study sponsored by MAPS and led by John Harrison has ended, and we are currently evaluating the data. We are applying insights from our initial study to the design of the new protocol.
We have ended the first phase of our ibogaine outcome study under the direction of John Harrison, Psy.D. candidate. We plan to analyze our current data from the 16 subjects who completed outcome visits in this study. We have plans to take a closer look at the current protocol, with an eye toward making improvements in the data collection process and study design. We will then reopen the study next year under a new protocol and enroll an additional pool of subjects.
View As Single Entry > April 7, 2009 John Harrison Discusses Ibogaine Research at Provider Summit in Sayulita, Mexico:
As of April 7, 2009, the thirteenth of 30 subjects has been enrolled in the MAPS-sponsored ibogaine outcome study at the Pangea Biomedics Ibogaine Association in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. The study is being conducted by John Harrison, PsyD Candidate at California Institute for Integral Studies.
From March 20-27, John Harrison attended an international ibogaine conference in Sayulita, Mexico. This invitation-only conference was hosted by “Awakening in The Dream House,” an ibogaine treatment clinic located in San Pancho, Mexico. The conference was held in honor of Howard Lotsof, who discovered the ‘addiction interrupting’ benefits of ibogaine more than 40 years ago. Fifty providers, clinicians, researchers, physicians, artists and journalists from around the world gathered for the conference/celebration. Among the attendees was Ken Alper, MD, who presented on the mechanism of action of ibogaine in the brain. Dr. Alper discussed addiction as pathological learning and emphasized the need for more extensive research.
John discussed MAPS ibogaine outcome study and early findings of his research. He extended invitations to several clinics and treatment providers world-wide to join with MAPS in developing further research into the psychedelic tool, ibogaine, as a treatment for addiction.
This study is fully funded.
View As Single Entry > March 12, 2009 Within the last two weeks, MAPS has raised $31,000 for the MAPS-sponsored ibogaine outcome study enabling the study to be completed! The study has enrolled the 12th subject out of 30.
Principal Investigator John Harrison, “is heartened by, and grateful for the commitment of [the subjects] to stay connected and make such a vital contribution to this innovative research.”
John attended the Boston ibogaine conference, where he presented information about his study design and very preliminary findings, and engaged in question and answers with forum attendees. The forum included many prominent members of the ibogaine movement including organizer Dana Beal, the inimitable Patrick Kroupa, Dr. Carl Anderson, Rocky Caravelli, and many others. MAPS President Rick Doblin PhD closed the conference with an inspiring talk calling on researchers to share information and also an appeal to support this ground-breaking study. Video of Ricks and Johns presentation are available to be viewed online.
The 10th subject has now been enrolled in the MAPS-sponsored ibogaine outcome study taking place at the Pangaea Biomedics treatment center in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico and conducted by Principle Investigator John Harrison PsyD Candidate. While enrollment is happening rapidly, donations are lacking for us to be able to evaluate all 30 patients called for in the protocol. This study is inexpensive compared to other studies that MAPS conducts, with a budget of just $1000 per patient for a total cost of $30,000. The cost is low since this is an observational study of subjects who are paying for their own treatment, rather than a MAPS-sponsored controlled clinical trial in which MAPS would need to cover all expenses of the treatment as well as the evaluation. Until we receive donations for this study, we are going to be capping enrollment at 15 subjects.
This will become the first study ever conducted and reported in the public domain regarding long-term outcomes of ibogaine treatment of opiate addiction. Ibogaine has been reported for several decades to have sometimes-miraculous abilities to set opiate and other addicts free from their addictions, but there still have been no prospective studies published looking at long-term outcomes. Depending on the results, this study could help give legitimacy to the now alternative treatment found outside of the US, or underground within the US.
At the beginning of 2009, the sixth subject was enrolled in the MAPS-sponsored ibogaine outcome study taking place at the Pangaea Biomedics treatment center in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. The principle investigator is John Harrison PsyD Candidate. Our goal is to evaluate 30 patients on a monthly basis for a full year after treatment with ibogaine for opiate addiction. We are very pleased with the rapid enrollment of subjects.
This will become the first such study ever conducted into the long-term outcomes of ibogaine in the treatment of opiate addiction. Ibogaine has been touted for several decades to have sometimes-miraculous abilities to set opiate and other addicts free from their addictions, but there still have been no prospective studies published looking at long-term outcomes. Depending on the results, this study could help give legitimacy to the now alternative treatment found outside of the US, or underground within the US. MAPS had previously started an ibogaine outcome study in Canada but that study ended early after the Iboga Therapy House at which the study took place closed for financial reasons.
We are still seeking restricted donations for this project. We ask the MAPS community to help us find people who would like to support this research by making donations restricted to the project. The project is estimated to cost $30,000 for 30 subjects, all of which remains to be raised. At a cost of $1000 per subject, this is an extremely cost-effective study. The cost is so low since this is an observational study of subjects who are paying for their own treatment, rather than a MAPS-sponsored controlled clinical trial in which MAPS would need to cover all expenses of the treatment as well as the evaluation.
In order to gather quantitative data about outcome, John will administer the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) on a monthly basis to each subject during an approximately one-hour phone conversation. Interviews with significant others will also be conducted, as a way to try to verify the accuracy of subject self-reports. Valerie Mojeiko, MAPS Director of Operations and Clinical Research, met with John Harrison to conduct a study initiation visit on October 9.
Canada's largest urban weekly, The Georgia Straight, published a feature article about the MAPS-sponsored observational case study in British Columbia evaluating ibogaine treatment in subjects with opiate dependence. The article includes some interesting personal anecdotes and analysis from MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD, as well as a discussion of MAPS' FDA Phase II research evaluating MDMA-, LSD-, and psyilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.
The Huffington Post's Mary Clare Ditton published an interesting article about a new ibogaine treatment center in Barcelona. The article discusses the MAPS-sponsored long-term observational case study in Vancouver as well as the parallel ibogaine study that MAPS is developing in Mexico.
The Iboga Therapy House is now enrolling clients in MAPS’ IRB-approved long-term observational case study. Three subjects have been enrolled in the study so far and will be followed up on a monthly basis for a full year after their initial ibogaine treatment. The study will examine changes in substance use in 20 consecutive individuals undergoing ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at the Iboga Therapy House near Vancouver, Canada.
Meanwhile, MAPS is currently developing the protocol for a parallel MAPS-sponsored observational case study in Mexico under the direction of Principal Investigator John Harrison, PsyD (cand). The study would evaluate changes in substance use in 20 consecutive individuals undergoing ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at Mexico’s Ibogaine Association. The Ibogaine Association has been under new management since 2006, and has significantly upgraded the quality of services for its clients.
MAPS Clinical Research Associate Valerie Mojeiko is in Vancouver, Canada this week to conduct a study initiation visit for the MAPS-sponsored observational case study evaluating the long-term efficacy of ibogaine-assisted therapy in participants seeking treatment for opiate addiction at the Iboga Therapy House. If you or someone you know isinterested in receiving ibogaine therapy, you can learn more about the Iboga Therapy House and apply to their program at www.ibogatherapyhouse.net
The MAPS-sponsored research team has now received “unconditional approval” from a Canadian Institutional Review Board (IRB) to proceed with a long-term observational case study that will examine changes in substance use in 20 consecutive people seeking ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at Iboga Therapy House in Vancouver. The Iboga Therapy House will now begin active recruitment of subjects.
British Columbia’s The Tyee published “Psychedelics Could Treat Addiction, Says Vancouver Official,” reporting that Vancouver’s top drug policy official and B.C. public health physicians believe addicts might be treated by giving them psychedelic drugs, and they hope the city will lead in exploring the controversial approach.
After years of work and a number of significant changes to the original protocol, a MAPS-sponsored research team has received “conditional approval” from a Canadian Institutional Review Board (IRB) to proceed with a long-term observational case study that will examine changes in substance use in 20 consecutive people seeking ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at Iboga Therapy House in Vancouver. While originally designed as an “outcome study,” the protocol was later changed to an observational case-study when the IRB expressed concerns that the initial design was too close to a clinical trial, which has a much stricter approval process, and was never the intention of the research team anyhow. The Principal Investigator is none other than Rick Doblin, Ph.D., and he’ll be aided by Dr. Ken Alper and Leah Martin, with data analysis to be conducted by MAPS Research Associate Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D.
We received a copy of the autopsy report from the San Diego County medical examiner, who found that this patient died of natural causes, unrelated to ibogaine administration, although ibogaine was found in this patient’s system at the time of autopsy. The patient suffered a sudden cardiac death due to acute myocardial infarct and acute coronary syndrome. Contributory causes to the death were fibromyalgia and chronic opiate pain medication dependency. The Ibogaine Associate closed briefly after the incident and reopened several weeks later after making several staff and procedural changes. At this time MAPS is not working with the Ibogaine Association.
Iboga Therapy House does not receive grant from Health Canada. MAPS awards a grant of up to $5000 to the Iboga Therapy House for assistance in setting up a non-profit ibogaine clinic that will charge a fee for treatments.
Iboga Therapy House (ITH), Vancouver, BC, Canada selected as new site for data collection. MAPS assists ITH in writing grant application to Health Canada for a pilot project to offer detoxification services to 20 people.
Data collection prematurely ended at the Ibogaine Association due to clinic closing after a subject in poor health died during a period of daily, low-dose treatment. We await the autopsy results and are currently looking for a new site to restart data collection.