Ibogaine Safety

hand drawn heart with an electrocardiogram line drawn through it

For every Ibogaine treatment, safety is our main concern at Oka Center.  Ibogaine is safe with the proper preparation, medical prescreening and intention.  In order for anyone to be accepted into our program, we require some medical tests to be emailed to us so that our certified MD, who is specialized in Ibogaine treatment, can review them and determine if you are a safe candidate.

Participants experience constant monitoring throughout their acute period of Ibogaine treatment and are never left alone. Our nurse observes all Ibogaine treatment ceremonies, and is standing by with the appropriate intervention needs.  

The dangers and difficulties involved with the ingestion of high doses of Ibogaine are real. The variety of iboga experiences is broad, but many people are surprised at how difficult and ‘harsh’ it can be. Many describe ibogaine therapy as one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. There are many benefits, but the costs should be anticipated.

Ibogaine Safety and Heart Conditions

First things first: most medical emergencies are avoidable 1) with proper medical screening, 2) with proper bowel prep, and 3) when administered without contraindicated drugs. Let’s look at these topics.

  • Heart and circulatory problems including arrhythmia, prolonged QT, bradycardia and embolism and other blockages provide undesirable risks for iboga/ibogaine treatment. Liver function may need to be examined with bloodwork. To ensure ibogaine safety, all prospective clients will undergo a 12-lead ECG (EKG) and have it examined before their session is scheduled. In rare cases, unexplainable heart failures occur.

  • Intestinal impaction, which is a frequent symptom for habitual opiate users, must be treated before ibogaine therapy. All prospective clients must have full intestinal motility before ibogaine treatment can begin. Motility ensures the uptake of the ibogaine, which is administered orally.

  • Before, during and after iboga therapy or ibogaine treatment, it is crucial that the participant abstain from any medicine, drug, active plant or alcohol that is not provided by the facilitator(s).

Heart and circulatory problems including arrhythmia, prolonged QT interval, bradycardia (slow heart beat) and embolism (blood clot) provide undesirable risks for iboga/ibogaine treatment.  Even with precautions, some people will have complications during treatment. Ibogaine is a natural product, and it is generally safe. We have noticed that despite rigorous screenings, about one percent of our clients require medical attention because of ibogaine treatment. (continued)


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Labs

Before coming to Oka Center, some tests may be performed to ensure appropriate liver function.
A complete metabolic panel (electrolyte panel) is taken to ensure proper hydration and nutrition, which will protect against potential cardiac risks. Cholesterol levels may also be examined. To assess cardiac health.
To ensure ibogaine safety, all prospective clients will undergo one or multiple 12-lead ECG (EKG).

*Medical screening with approval for our doctor is required before any administration of iboga or ibogaine. All candidates must pass our medical screening. Participants who enter Registration and scheduling without screening pre-approval must bring cash to perform the tests here. A small number of people are not good candidates for iboga ceremony and will be refused treatment.  This is why it is preferable to have these tests done before you book any plane tickets or give us any kind of deposit.

Finally, our nurse provides a general examination and gives approval for ibogaine therapy to proceed.
10 days prior to arrival we have many clients begin a supplement regime of 80mg baby aspirin daily, because of its mild blood thinning effects (to prevent potential blood clots) and a calcium, postassium, magnesium supplement (for cardiac performance).

Intestinal impaction, which is a frequent symptom for habitual opiate users, must be treated before ibogaine therapy. All prospective clients must have full intestinal motility before ibogaine treatment can begin. This means having a bowel movement every day for at least one week before arrival. Motility ensures the uptake of the ibogaine, which is administered orally. We have most clients start senna (sennakot) (a gentle herbal laxative) 10 days prior to arrival.

Before, during and after iboga therapy or ibogaine treatment, it is crucial that the participant abstain from any medicine, drug, active plant or alcohol that is not provided by the facilitator(s).


Covert Self Medication Can Be Dangerous

Most experienced providers agree that the main source of avoidable trauma associated with the ingestion of iboga/ibogaine is covert self-medication. If you have any questions about medicines you feel you cannot cease during your treatment, discuss this openly.  It is also important to note that upon arrival at our facility each person and their belongings will be personally searched to insure that there will be no drugs, prescription or otherwise, that we do not know about.  

EKG Precautions

Abnormal, irregular, or falsified tests pose serious threats to the outcome of ibogaine treatment. ECG (EKG) and blood work/liver panel are required. In some cases, a stress test is required. A compromised cardiovascular system, pulmonary thrombosis, high blood pressure, varicose or damaged veins, skin abscesses or other blood clotting problems increase the risk of blood clots moving to your heart in an ibogaine treatment. Bradycardia, (lowering of the blood pressure and pulse) or hypertension (high blood pressure), can be exclusionary. Please be informed that these conditions directly affect your health and increase the risk of possible death or injury. While ibogaine treatment is physically taxing on the body, the level of severity and time of recuperation varies from person to person. Any discomforts are temporary.

Medical History

Please answer all medical questions as completely and accurately as possible. Incomplete or false information can lead to unintended consequences that may greatly effect your treatment and may lead to disappointment, serious harm or even death.

Mental Health Needs Careful Consideration

It is important that we have an accurate picture of each candidate’s mental health history. We may exclude those with certain pre-existing psychological disorders including schizophrenia, psychotic disorders and panic attacks. Those with schizophrenic disorders in particular run the risk of long term complications related to iboga therapy. All candidates need to be evaluated carefully for psychological preparedness, and we must be informed of any psychiatric medications you are currently taking. Candidates should confer with their mental health practitioner about iboga treatment. Also see dual diagnosis treatment.

Intake At Oka Center

We reserve the right to have participants examined by our doctor at any time. We reserve the right to discontinue the process of iboga therapy at any time at the direction of the Medical Director. We search every participant and their belongings for contraindicated drugs. Your health is our primary concern.

Exclusions

We may choose not to work with candidates if the following conditions are present:

  • Active infections including ulcers, pneumonia, or skin abscesses

  • History of blood clots or coagulation abnormalities

  • Cerebellar dysfunction

  • Chronic fainting

  • Uncontrolled Diabetes

  • Emphysema

  • Epilepsy

  • Crohn’s Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Gastric Ulcer

  • Heart disease, heart murmurs, or heart arrhythmias

  • Extreme Obesity

  • Hypotension and Hypertension

  • Kidney Disease

  • Liver disease incl. hepatitis with liver enzymes over four times normal

  • Pregnancy

  • Serious psychiatric disorders

  • Stroke

No Other Medications During Treatment

No medications, especially psychoactive medications (such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Abilify) may be taken prior to ibogaine treatment. These medicines should be eliminated from the system under the prescribing doctor’s supervision.  MANY other prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and even HERBAL supplements are also contraindicated for ibogaine treatment. As a foundation for our medical screening, when it comes to medications, all candidates for treatment need to provide a complete accounting of all their medicine use. Then, from the moment they arrive at our facility, participants must not consume any food, drink or substance that is not approved by provider.


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