N-acetylcysteine versus placebo for treating nail biting, a double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trial

Ghanizadeh, Ahmad, Derakhshan, Nima and Berk, Michael 2013, N-acetylcysteine versus placebo for treating nail biting, a double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trial, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 1-6.

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Title N-acetylcysteine versus placebo for treating nail biting, a double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trial
Author(s) Ghanizadeh, Ahmad
Derakhshan, Nima
Berk, Michael
Journal name Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry
Volume number 12
Issue number 3
Start page 1
End page 6
Total pages 6
Publisher Bentham Science Publishers
Place of publication Bussum, Netherlands
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1871-5230
Keyword(s) N-acetylcysteine
Impulsive
Obsessive compulsive
Children
Nail biting
Summary Nail biting is a common behavioral problem. While there are established behavioral interventions for management, they are of modest efficacy, and there is minimal evidence for effective pharmacotherapy. This study investigated the role of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) a potent glutathione and glutamate modulator for the treatment of pathological nail biting in children and adolescents. This pilot randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of NAC (800mg/day) or placebo enrolled 42 children and adolescents with chronic nail biting. Nail length was the objective outcome. Evaluations were carried out three times; before treatment, one month after enrollment in the study, and two months after enrollment. The duration (chronicity) of nail biting in the NAC and placebo groups was 3.63(2.45) and 5.09(3.74) years (P=0.14). The mean nail length gradually increased in both the NAC and placebo groups during this trial. There was a statistically significant difference between the two groups regarding increased nail length after the first month of trial [(5.21(5.75) and 1.18(3.02) millimeters], however no difference after two months was observed. Two patients in the NAC group discontinued medication due to adverse events. One patient experienced headache, agitation, and social withdrawal, and another patient expressed severe aggression after taking medication and was withdrawn from the study. This study supports the hypothesis that NAC decreases nail biting behavior in children and adolescents over the short term. NAC is relatively well tolerated and severe adverse effects are rare. However, there was a high rate of dropout. Further studies with longer durations that build on these preliminary data are recommended.
Language eng
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Bentham Science Publishers
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30060276

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Medicine
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