Important Questions To Ask While Considering Ibogaine Treatment

Published on:
April 13, 2023

Clinic operators (or “providers”) may be eager to help people suffering or in crisis, yet very few have the medical or psychological training (in addiction medicine or treatment of severe depression, anxiety or trauma) to understand how to increase the safety and compound the benefits of Ibogaine for a person considering treatment. The list of considerations below are not assumed to be comprehensive or exhaustive but offered to help guide a person (or family) making the decision to work with Ibogaine to heal. 

Without professional medical training and experience, providers are unfamiliar with the science behind Ibogaine’s contraindications (ibogaine is not recommended for people with cardiovascular conditions and cannot be combined with certain medications). Without proper screening and prior medical care, ibogaine can be dangerous. There is misinformation on the Internet and it is recommended that concerns or questions about safety be answered by a trained, experienced medical professional who can explain the answers to questions such as “How does ibogaine work?” “Where does ibogaine come from?” and “Is ibogaine dangerous?”

Most providers do not have the experience needed to effectively integrate science, mental health treatment, broad holistic care, and a range of techniques to effectively prepare or integrate the Ibogaine experience for their client to help ensure maximum benefits, healing and lasting transformation.

Finally, most medical or psychology professionals (even in the psychedelic sector) do not truly understand the actual Ibogaine experience — ideally the professionals have the personal experience to empathize with all concerns, expectations, preferred experience or unique response to Ibogaine by the recipient. 

During research of Ibogaine and considering a provider or a clinic, these questions below may help make decision making more effective. This is what our team at Beond would ask if considering visiting a treatment environment or facility of any kind. 

Similar to when choosing any primary care doctor or specialist, asking these questions may help a prospective client understand the level of medical experience and knowledge as it relates to a team of ibogaine providers and entire staff. Everyone has the right to make the best decision they can, and a professional team should assist in this effort – promptly, completely and at NO cost.
  • Please detail all considerations regarding client Cardiac care, Emergency Medicine Training and Certifications of key staff members. For example:
  • What training have the doctors and nurses had? Have they been trained in “Advanced Life Support (ALS”  and when? 
  • Is there a trained EMT onsite? How many years of experience do they have in medical care? How many years of experience do they have with ibogaine treatment specifically? 
  • Is the entire medical staff onsite daily or do they only work as hired? 
  • Detail all senior medical staff training and in the case of chemical dependency, Addiction Medicine Certifications
  • How many of the  doctors, nurses or therapists trained in conventional Addiction Medicine specifically? 
  • Are the Doctors “Board Certified” in Addiction Medicine? (This is a higher standard of training and qualification.
  • Describe experience of all attending medical staff regarding Diverse Uses of Ibogaine for Polysubstance Addiction Treatment.
  • When polysubstance use is a factor, is the clinic’s medical team well versed in multiple substance treatments? This includes alcohol detox, benzodiazepines  (a contraindication), methamphetamines, longer acting opiates like Suboxone, Subutex or Methadone, or shorting acting opiates like fentanyl, heroin, kratom or oxycodone or others.. 
  • Please provide details and Medical rationale regarding “switchover” from long-acting Opiates – please explain the scientific reasons for how, why and the efficacy for the approach? (The scientific process of switching to a shorter acting opiate for a set time period in order to prepare for ibogaine treatment can (and should) be explained in detail and in layman's terms.)
  • If there is a dependency to longer acting opiates, confirming a fact based approach may help ensure that the clinic and medical staff have detailed written protocols and extensive experience to customize switchovers to a shorter acting prescribed opiate like morphine. The should be accountable to explain  precisely how dosage is calculated and why it will work to eliminate acute withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Require face-to-face (video conference) communications with full-time licensed credentialed Physicians as Part of the Consultation Process
  • Request a FREE medical consultation with one of the clinic’s full time practicing doctors to speak about all aspects of your unique situation and the specific protocol that is required. Consider requiring that the physician have a minimum of 15 years of experience working with ibogaine to treat a wide range of client situations.
  • Please describe medical training and psychotherapeutic experience with treating PTSD, any Mood or Behavioral Disorder Treatment: If seeking treatment for PTSD or other mood disorders such as depression, ask to meet with (via video conference) an onsite lead psychologists to make sure you feel comfortable with their care continuum and delivery model 
  • Be sure that they are trained in trauma and trauma informed to help  understand how they work with complex psychological issues before, during and after Ibogaine treatment. This will also help increase comfort level and confidence with the psychology team and their therapeutic protocols. This applies to addiction and chemical dependency treatments as well.
  • Please describe all advanced Medical Equipment Present Onsite and certification of training for attending medical staff members: before commiting, request a review of their equipment and their medical processes upon arrival - should include a 12 lead EKG and onsite laboratory analysis work to inform liver functions, I.V. access will be available during, before and after treatment for electrolytes and stabilization. 
  • Please confirm the Clinic's documented Application Process and Detailed Information required and why — related to a  full medical (including cardiac history), psychiatric history, disclosure of illicit drugs, prescribed medications (SSRI’s, benzodiazepines, sleeping medications and anything else). Some medications are contraindicated (don’t work well) with ibogaine and could result in severe complications. Various lengths of abstinence from various medications are required before treatment depending on the substance. Upon review of your case, the clinic’s medical team should be able to work with you on dates to begin a concrete plan for tapering or abstaining prior to your arrival or as part of your treatment protocol at the clinic before treatment day. 
  • Please confirm employment status of Full Time Staff Including Nurse and Doctors Present Daily and During Treatments - a clinic’s doctor and nurses should be available and in the room with you during your treatment(s) constantly monitoring your vitals.
  • Please confirm continuous Cardiac Monitoring During All Treatments and for Extended Periods After an Acute Ibogaine Experience - how long is the stabilization period before and after ibogaine treatment? For those seeking alcohol or drug detox, the stabilization period should be at least 3 days prior to your treatment (some clients require more stabilization time depending upon their health or drug dependency). One should be  continuously monitored during treatment and frequently afterwards, at least up to 48 hours after your treatment concludes. Regular EKG’s should be administered on top of frequent medical and health screenings.
  • Please confirm and review  the existence of Written Safety (and emergency care) Protocols and ensure these have been Vetted (Peer Reviewed) by External Experts - these are available for review by any client and, upon request, discussed in detail with medical personnel for complete understanding.
  • Please confirm medical and safety protocols regarding dosage: does the clinic dose at a one-size-fits all model based only on body weight or is dosing overseen by an experienced ibogaine physician who takes into account not only body weight but, if an addiction habit is present, daily usage amount as well as health factors? 
  • Please ensure access and availability for therapeutic guidance and support during preparation prior to arrival. This should be facilitated by Trained Certified Ibogaine Therapeutic Coach and Preparation With Onsite Psychologists Who Have Direct Experience in Ibogaine: It is important for a clinic to not only prepare you physically and ensure medical safety but, for the greatest benefit and outcome, to also prepare you psychologically and emotionally for treatment. What are your goals and intentions for treatment? Where would you like to affect change in your life? How can you best prepare for what you are coming home to? Are there key life changes you would like to make related to well being, work and family? The process of integration is taking the realized insights during your ibogaine experience and applying them to daily life. An experienced ibogaine coach and ibogaine assisted psychologist work together in collaboration with you to inspire your highest likelihood for success. This ensures multidimensional safety (psychological, emotional, spiritual and medical). A licensed therapist should be available onsite every day before and after treatments for daily one on one preparation and integration sessions. The minimum length of time onsite post treatment for integration should be at least 4 days with the ability to extend weeks onward if needed. 
  • Please confirm a written Personalized Post Care Plan will be Part of Your Integration Work Onsite- A post care treatment plan is a written document created together with your assigned onsite psychologist that includes tangible daily actions to take upon returning home. Your assigned and certified ibogaine coach should continue to work with you after you return home to aid in integrating your experience into your daily life. 
  • Please confirm immediate accessibility and Continuous Communication With Family or loved one During entire treatment period: if agreed upon by the client prior to ibogaine treatment, clinical staff should be available to keep in touch with loved ones and let them know how the client is doing on a regular basis. 
  • Please confirm that any Ibogaine Clinic has exhibited a written Commitment to Ethics and Public Endorsement of Taking the North Star Pledge - a third party non-profit, North Star, is available for investigation in case of any complaints related to onsite ethics.
  • Please confirm access to Previous Clients (with similar diagnosis) to Discuss Their Experience in a Direct 1:1 Client to Client Confirmation of Clinic Experience and Expectations. Upon request, a clinic should be able to connect you to past clients who have been treated with similar issues. Past clients should be able to relay their experience at the clinic.