Howard Lotsof was born in the Bronx, New York and attended New York University and worked in television and film and music promotion.
In his teen years, Lotsof became addicted to heroin. In 1962, by his own account, the desire of he and six of his friends to take heroin disappeared almost immediately after self-administration of an extract of the Tabernanthe iboga root which contains the compound ibogaine. From that time, Lotsof became one of the most vocal advocates of ibogaine use for the treatment of addiction.
In 1985, Lotsof was awarded a US patent for using ibogaine to treat addiction to narcotics. He applied for several other ibogaine patents for treating smoking, alcoholism, hepatitis C, and cocaine and methamphetamine addiction.