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Effects of N-acetylcysteine on substance use in bipolar disorder: A randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2014

Michelle Bernardo
Affiliation:
The University of Melbourne, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences: Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia
Seetal Dodd*
Affiliation:
The University of Melbourne, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences: Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia
Clarissa S. Gama
Affiliation:
Laboratório de Psiquiatria Molecular, Centro de Pesquisas, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil
David L Copolov
Affiliation:
Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Australia Monash University, Clayton, Australia
Olivia Dean
Affiliation:
The University of Melbourne, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences: Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
Kristy Kohlmann
Affiliation:
The University of Melbourne, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences: Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
Susan Jeavons
Affiliation:
Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
Ian Schapkaitz
Affiliation:
Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
Murray Anderson-Hunt
Affiliation:
Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
Ashley I Bush
Affiliation:
Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
Michael Berk
Affiliation:
The University of Melbourne, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences: Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia Orygen Research Centre, Parkville, Australia Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
*
Seetal Dodd, The University of Melbourne, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences: Barwon Health, PO Box 281, Geelong 3220, Australia. Tel: +6135226/7666; Fax: +61352465165; E-mail: seetald@barwonhealth.org.au

Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the effect of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on substance use in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of NAC in bipolar disorder. It is hypothesised that NAC will be superior to placebo for reducing scores on the Clinical Global Impressions scale for Substance Use (CGI-SU).

Methods:

Participants were randomised to a 6-months of treatment with 2 g/day NAC (n = 38) or placebo (n = 37). Substance use was assessed at baseline using a Habits instrument. Change in substance use was assessed at regular study visits using the CGI-SU.

Results:

Among the 75 participants 78.7% drank alcohol (any frequency), 45.3% smoked tobacco and 92% consumed caffeine. Other substances were used by fewer than six participants. Caffeine use was significantly lower for NAC-treated participants compared to placebo at week 2 of treatment but not at other study visits.

Conclusions:

NAC appeared to have little effect on the participants who were using substances. A larger study on a substance-using population will be necessary to determine if NAC may be a useful treatment for substance use.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S

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