Ibogaine: History & Timeline

Date History
1864 The first description of T. iboga is published. A specimen is brought to France from Gabon. A published description of the ceremonial use of T. iboga in Gabon appears in 1885.
1901 Ibogaine is isolated and crystallized from T. iboga root bark.
1901-1905 Ibogaine is isolated and crystallized from T. iboga root bark.
1939-1970 Ibogaine is sold in France as Lambarene, a “neuromuscular stimulant,” in 8 mg tablets, recommended for indications that include fatigue, depression, and recovery from infectious disease.
1955 Harris Isbell administers doses of ibogaine of up to 300 mg to eight already detoxified morphine addicts at the U.S. Addiction Research Center in Lexington, Kentucky.
1957 The description of the definitive chemical structure of ibogaine is published. The total synthesis of ibogaine is reported in 1965.
1962-1963 In the United States, Howard Lotsof administers ibogaine to 1-9 individuals at dosages of 6 to 19 mg/kg, including 7 with opioid dependence who note an apparent effect on acute withdrawal symptomatology.
1967-1970 The World Health Assembly classifies ibogaine with hallucinogens and stimulants as a “substance likely to cause dependency or endanger human health.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assigns ibogaine Schedule I classification. The International Olympic Committee bans ibogaine as a potential doping agent. Sales of Lambarene cease in France.
1969 Dr. Claudio Naranjo, a psychiatrist, receives a French patent for the psychotherapeutic use of ibogaine at a dosage of 4 to 5 mg/kg.
1985 Howard Lotsof receives a U.S. patent for the use of ibogaine in opiate withdrawal. Additional patents follow for indications of dependence on cocaine and other stimulants, alcohol, nicotine, and polysubstance abuse.
1988 U.S. and Dutch researchers publish initial findings suggestive of the efficacy of ibogaine in animal models of addiction, including diminished opioid self-administration and withdrawal, as well as diminished cocaine self-administration.
1989-1993 Treatments are conducted outside of conventional medical settings in the Netherlands involving the International Coalition of Addict Self-Help (ICASH), Dutch Addict Self Help (DASH), and NDA International.
1991 Based on case reports and preclinical evidence suggesting possible efficacy, NIDA Medication Development Division (MDD) begins its ibogaine project. The major objectives of the ibogaine project are preclinical toxicological evaluation and development of a human protocol.
August 1993 FDA Advisory Panel meeting, chaired by Medical Review Officer Curtis Wright, is held to formally consider Investigational New Drug Application filed by Dr. Deborah Mash, Professor of Neurology at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Approval is given for human trials. The approved Ibogaine dosage levels are 1, 2, and 5 mg/kg. The Phase I dose escalation study begins December 1993, but activity is eventually suspended due to lack of funds.
October 93- December 94 The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) holds a total of four Phase I/II protocol development meetings, which include outside consultants. The resulting draft protocol calls for the single administration or fixed dosages of ibogaine of 150 and 300 mg versus placebo for the indication of cocaine dependence.
1995 NIDA Ibogaine Review Meeting is held in Rockville, Maryland, chaired by the MDD Deputy Director, Dr. Frank Vocci. The possibility of NIDA funding a human trial of the efficacy of ibogaine is considered. Opinions of representatives of the pharmaceutical industry are mostly critical, and are a significant influence in the decision not to fund the trial. NIDA ends its ibogaine project but it does continue to support some preclinical research on iboga alkaloids.
Mid 1990’s- 2001 Ibogaine becomes increasingly available in alternative settings, in view of the lack of approval in the Europe and the United States. Treatments in settings based on a conventional medical model are conducted in Panama in 1994 and 1995 and in St. Kitts from 1996 to the present. Informal scenes begin in the United States, Slovenia, Britain, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. The Ibogaine Mailing List begins in 1997 and heralds an increasing utilization of the Internet within the ibogaine medical subculture.
From Ibogaine: A Review by Kenneth R. Alper.
Published in Ibogaine: Proceedings of the First International Conference (The Alkaloids, Volume 56) Academic Press, 2001.