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 6-months of treatment with 2 g/day NAC (n = 38) or placebo (n = 37). Substance use was assessed at baseline using the Habits instrument. Change in substance use was assessed at regular study visits using the CGI-SU.
Results: Amongst the 75 participants 78.7% drank alcohol (any frequency), 45.3% smoked tobacco and 92% consumer caffeine. Other substances were used by fewer than six participants. Caffeine use was significantly lower for NAC-treated participants compared with placebo at week 2 of treatment but not at other study visits.
Conclusion: NAC appeared to have little effect on substance use in this population. A larger study on a substance using population will be necessary to determine if NAC may be a useful treatment for substance use.
Field of Research
119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences