Issue: 2012 > November > special article

Life-threatening complications of ibogaine: three case reports

F.P. Paling, L.M. Andrews, G.D. Valk, H.J. Blom


Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive alkaloid
extracted from the roots of the Tabernanthe iboga plant,
which in alternative medicine is used to treat drug
dependency. However, this upcoming, online advocated
therapy can be dangerous due to its potentially lethal
adverse effects. We present three cases in which toxic
side effects were noted. We used the Naranjo scale to
estimate the probability of a causal relationship between
these effects and ibogaine. Findings in these three cases
are suggestive of a causal relationship between the use
of ibogaine and serious respiratory and cardiac problems
(including lengthening of the QT interval). In our opinion
it is of great importance that clinicians are aware of these potentially serious side effects and realise that widespread online marketing practices will give many more people access to ibogaine.