An important question when considering Ibogaine treatment is, how safe is Ibogaine treatment? And although heroin addiction and other addictions can be extremely dangerous, this does not justify dangerous treatment options for those addictions.
In the past, especially when Ibogaine was new to drug treatment, there were fatalities. This is how doctors and clinics in the 1990’s discovered things like Ibogaine and Suboxone/Methadone do not mix, prescreening protocols, contraindications (drugs Ibogaine doesn’t work well with), and the need for medically supervised Ibogaine treatment.
Now, with a majority of Ibogaine clinics operating with a medical staff and proper screening, fatalities have been limited to a few, if any, per year.
From 1990 to 2008 Iceers, a major ethnobotanical research center at the forefront of Ibogaine treatment, conducted a study on the Ibogaine fatalities that occurred. There were 14 deaths on record during those 18 years. 2 had self administered Ibogaine without medical supervision. Of the other 12 who had died at a treatment clinic Iceers said they “didn’t find anyone who was perfectly healthy, used hydrochloride, and didn’t use drugs during treatment” that had died during treatment.
As you can see from Table 1, the majority of issues stemmed from mixing or taking other illicit or harmful drugs in close proximity with Ibogaine.
This was before prescreening. The entire scientific world was unaware of the effects of Ibogaine, especially on the heart (Ibogaine acts as a stimulant). All of these cases could, and would, have been prevented if proper prescreening and control measures would have been taken. Beyond the preexisting conditions, certain drugs do not mix with Ibogaine and can cause death. We are well aware of this fact.
This is where the statistic of “1 in 300” deaths occur from Ibogaine treatment.
However, with many clinics operating at near full capacity, it is projected that more than 300, more likely around 3000, individuals are treated with Ibogaine every year.
Of those 3000, there is probably 1-2 deaths, if that.
Statistics do not make Ibogaine any safer. But with prescreening and other tests being done it is likely that the statistic for Ibogaine death rates is closer today to 1 in 3000.
The Importance of Prescreening and Drug Testing
This is why we at Experience Ibogaine put such a heavy emphasis on prescreening and drug testing. Our patients undergo two major prescreening phases as well as a medical grade drug test phase.
The first prescreening stage is done before coming down to the clinic for treatment. This includes the application for treatment and the 1 on 1 phone call with your treatment coordinator.
Stage 2 happens when patients arrive at the clinic. They have a one on one meeting with their treatment physician where they go through another series of medical questions. Patients are then given an EKG test and have bloodwork done to check liver enzyme levels and other contributing factors. These two stages of pretreatment reduce the risk of complication from Ibogaine treatment significantly.
Lastly, patients are given a thorough, medical grade drug test to make sure there are no complicating drugs in their system (contraindicative substances). Certain drugs must be cleared from the individual’s system in order for Ibogaine to be effective and not create health risks. All patients must pass each stage of prescreening and drug testing before they are cleared for treatment.
Ibogaine Hydrochloride not Iboga
There is a reason we use 99 percent pure Ibogaine hydrochloride or Ibogaine powder for treatments. Ibogaine is just one of many alkaloids that are found in the Iboga root. The foreign alkaloids in Iboga can cause their own series of complications that have not been studied thoroughly. By using pure Ibogaine in the Ibogaine treatment process the risks are reduced even more. This is a significant factor and why attending shamanic, pure Iboga root ceremonies is not recommended for those seeking treatment for addiction.
The most important factor in reducing Ibogaine complications is having a medical staff on hand to prescreen patients and be present during every Ibogaine treatment, from beginning to end. Having an experienced staff of emergency trained physicians, nurses, and medical doctors saves lives. This will also help increase effectiveness and the success rate of the Ibogaine treatment.
By having a medical team, prescreening process, nurses on staff, drugs testing, and using pure Ibogaine or Ibogaine hydrochloride, the risk associated with Ibogaine treatment are minimized dramatically. At Experience Ibogaine we are proud to say we take all of these factors very seriously and we do not treat anyone that could be at risk for complications. Because of this, we are able to say we have had no fatalities from our Ibogaine treatment process, and we work hard every day to keep it this way.