A Novel Approach to Detoxification from Methadone Using Low, Repeated, and Cumulative Administering of Ibogaine
Clare S. Wilkins
Ibogaine, despite being classified as Schedule I In the United States, has been used in research on substance use and misuse since the 1950’s. An African psychoactive indole alkaloid, used in a global medical subculture (Alper, 2008), its use has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. Numerous studies have shown it is effective in reversing tolerance for various substances, including opiates, stimulants, and alcohol. Risks are involved, due to the demographic, screening, cardiac effects, as well lack of clinical standards. Fatalities at medical clinics occur, and it is of great import to discuss why. Ibogaine increases cardiac risk by inducing bradycardia, prolonging the QT interval blocking the Potassium hERG channel. This can be further complicated by medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and certain psychiatric drugs. As ibogaine centers have increased in number, the methodology of ibogaine administration has not changed significantly, utilizing a single, large “flood” dose, with supplemental doses, usually over 5-7 days. Those who seek to withdraw from opiate maintenance treatment, which is more increasingly prescribed, as well more difficult to withdraw from, may not benefit from this accelerated approach, as the abstinence symptoms can persist for months. In collaboration with ICEERS, I will present a case of a woman with a 17 year methadone dependence. Using cumulative doses of ibogaine, staggered administration of methadone over a period of 8 weeks, combined with integrative psychotherapy and orthomolecular medicine, she remains free of opiates for 1 year now. Supported with data from ECGs and standard measures, this case may show us that it can be safer and more efficacious to take time to administer ibogaine.
Clare S. Wilkins is a former intravenous drug user and methadone patient who shed her chemical dependencies with the aid of ibogaine in 2005. As founder of Pangea Biomedics, she has facilitated over 600 treatments and has collaborated with MAPS to study the long-term effects of patients undergoing detoxification therapy with ibogaine for opiates. Since 2010 she has been an active board member of The Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA) and is a co-author of the Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification, a comprehensive risk-management resource and minimum standard of care. Clare also serves on the board of advisors for Symbio Life Sciences. Mentored by Howard Lotsof, she is committed to advancing scientific research of iboga, including ibogaine, its alkaloids and analogs. She is currently collaborating with ICEERS to develop a clinical trial for methadone patients utilizing the cumulative administration method she developed over 10 years of clinical practice in Mexico. As a member of INPUD, an international drug user rights organization, she is devoted to reducing stigma and harm, promoting the health of people who use drugs and every human’s basic right to medicine.