ATAI Life Sciences and DemeRx officials said the entities are collaborating to develop ibogaine, which will be used to treat opioid use disorders (OUD).
Two years ago, 2.1 million Americans met the diagnostic criteria for OUD, while 47,600 people died from opioid overdoses. Current treatment options for OUD are limited and carry risk of significant side effects and abuse potential.
The largest study of ibogaine to date occurred in St. Kitts, West Indies, detailing an open-label case series of 102 opioid-dependent and 89 cocaine-dependent subjects.
The findings revealed a single, low orally administered dose of ibogaine significantly reduced opioid withdrawal scores 36-hours post
treatment while reducing the severity of cravings and depression in both cohorts.
“Not only were patients able to safely and successfully transition into sobriety, we found no evidence of additional abuse potential,” Deborah Mash, CEO of DemeRx and principal investigator on the St. Kitts study, said. “Given the limitation in currently available treatments, ibogaine represents an enormous leap forward for OUD sufferers.”
Researchers said the positive impact persisted at a one-month follow up.
“We are very concerned about the opioid epidemic in the United States and around the world,” ATAI CEO Florian Brand said. “Together with DemeRx, we are committed to developing novel approaches to both treat and prevent opioid addiction.”