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Safety Considerations Regarding Ayahuasca

The primary objective of the screening is to ensure the safety of all participants in a ceremony. Medical conditions and medications are also examined.
Ayahuasca is not recommended for persons with psychosis or bipolar disorders. Sometimes, when these people take it, it potentiates a response that may last beyond the ceremony and requires additional intervention.
Sometimes ayahuasca may trigger psychosis in a person who is not psychotic before taking it. In addition to this, there have been reports of suicides and violence after ayahuasca sessions. Because of this, mental health screening is important, as honesty about all conditions.
No deaths have been directly attributed to the physical effects of ayahuasca, although people often feel sick or like they could die. Those effects go away quickly.
Ayahuasca may be contraindicated in persons suffering from heart problems or high blood pressure. However, anecdotal reports suggest that these conditions have rarely caused problems during the sessions. This may be due in part to a screening of such individuals.
Our priority is to conduct spiritual ceremonies safely. Ayahuasca is very safe when utilized correctly. The main risk associated with participating in ayahuasca ceremonies is the contraindication of prescription and other drugs. Ayahuasca contains MAOIs and may therefore have negative interactions with some medicines or herbal supplements.
In general, Inner Flight Retreat recommends that participants stop taking medications or supplements and follow the ayahuasca diet before they arrive.
Always follow the ayahuasca diet before taking part in any ceremony. If you have any questions about potential health risks or medications you are taking, please speak with our staff so we can determine if you can safely participate in ayahuasca ceremonies.
Before making reservations to attend our Ayahuasca retreat, we will conduct a brief medical screening. We do this with every potential participant to ensure the safety of our ceremonies.


In general, ayahuasca is viewed as having positive psychological effects on its users. However, certain psychological conditions such as schizophrenia or psychosis could be worsened with the use of ayahuasca.  Any person suffering from these conditions must not take part in ayahuasca therapy. Special caution should be used with those who suffer from suicidal ideations or dis-associative episodes.
Those suffering from high blood pressure, Cardiac disease, or liver failure should not consume Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is known to raise blood pressure levels so that those who already have high blood pressure or heart conditions are at high risk for complications. Ayahuasca is processed through the liver so if an individual is in the advanced stages of liver disease, the added stress could be potentially dangerous.


While it is advised that no drugs/medications should be consumed before ayahuasca participation so the body is free of outside chemicals and best able to process the medicine, some medications may be taken throughout the ayahuasca retreat. The following is a list of drugs/medications to avoid taking before participating in an ayahuasca retreat.

Illegal | Recreational Drugs that are very dangerous to combine with Ayahuasca:

  • Kava
  • Alcohol
  • Kratom
  • Cocaine
  • 5 MEO-DMT
  • Barbiturates
  • xtromethorphan (DXM)
  • Mescaline (any phenethylamine)
  • Nutmeg (at psycho-active levels)
  • Opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine, and especially opium)
  • Amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine), ephedrine, MDMA (Ecstasy), MDA, MDEA, PMA 

  Common medications that are contraindicated with the MAOIs found in Ayahuasca

If the drug you are taking is not on this list please check with your doctor if it has a negative reaction with an MAOI inhibitor. If you are taking any of these drugs you must stop taking them at least two weeks before your first ceremony with Ayahuasca.
2 to 4 weeks are necessary to be free from such medications to avoid any serious health consequences*


  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax) (requires 6-week abstinence)
  • Pethidine (meperidine) (Demerol) could be a fatal reaction.
  • Dextropropoxyphene (Darvon)
  • Pentazocine (Talwin, Fortral)
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Chlorpheniramine (Hystop, Chlor-Trimeton, Piriton, HISTA-12)
  • Bromopheniramine (Bromafed, Dimetapp, Bromfenex, Dimetane, BPN, Lodrane)
  • Linzolid (Zylox)
  • Nitrofuran (Furoxone)
  • Methadone
  • Milnacipran (Ixel)
  • Tremadol (Ultram)
  • Tryptophan
  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex, Seroplex, Lexamil)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Aropax)
  • Citalopram (Celexa,Cipramil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Milnacipran (Ixel)
  • Venlafaxine (Efflexor)
  • Sibutramine (Sibutramina, Meridia, Obestat, Rectiva, Raductil,)
  • Clomipramime (Anafranil)
  • Procarbizide (Matulane)
  • Nudexa (dextromethorphan and quinidine sulfate)
  • other MAOIs
  • vasodilators
  • appetite suppressants (diet pills)
  • antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
  • SSRIs (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
  • CNS (central nervous system) depressants (xanax, ativan, etc)
  • medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems; antihistamines, medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies (Actifed DM, Benadryl, Benylin, Chlor-Trimeton, Compoz, Bromarest-DM or -DX, Dimetane-DX cough syrup, Dristan Cold & Flu, Phenergan with Dextromethorphan, Robitussin-DM, Vicks Formula 44-D, several Tylenol cold, cough, and flu preparations, and many others — any drug containing dextromethorphan/ DXM or with DM, DX or Tuss in its name.)
For a complete comprehensive list of medications to avoid and more information on Ayahuasca Safety please click here.

Kambo Contraindications

People with any of the conditions below CAN NOT safely take Kambô:
  • Stroke
  • Severe Epilepsy
  • Addison’s disease
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Serious heart problems
  • Aneurysms or blood clots
  • Currently pregnant or maybe so
  • Medication for low blood pressure
  • Breastfeeding a child under 6 months old
  • Immune suppressants for organ transplant
  • Serious mental health problems excluding depression and anxiety
  • Undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy for 4-6 weeks afterward
Mental Health History
It is very important to inform the practitioner if you ever have, or are currently suffering from a mental health condition, regardless of whether or not you are taking medication.

Kambo Considerations

Certain situations may require special attention or consideration before, during, or after your treatment. Please inform us (in the hearth form that you will receive by email after you reserve your spot) if you:
  • Have asthma
  • Had surgery recently
  • Use recreational drugs
  •  Are taking any prescription drugs
  • Are you taking birth control pills?
  • Have you recently or currently fasting
  • Have an active drug or alcohol addiction
  • Taking slimming or sleeping suppressants
  • Have abnormally high/low blood pressure
  • Were you born with any heart conditions?
  • Have recently stopped taking any medications
  • Have used Bufo Alvarius in the last two months
  • Had any viral conditions (Lymes, hepatitis, dengue)
  • Take immune suppressants for autoimmune disorders
  • Have done any water fasting before Kambô other than the required fasting
  • Had colonics, enemas, liver flushes, or any water/juice-based detox recently
  • Chronic health issues: (chronic fatigue, arthritis, migraines, thyroid conditions, etc)
  • Are taking, or have recently stopped taking slimming, serotonin, or sleeping supplements