Deakin University

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N-acetylcysteine for therapy-resistant tobacco use disorder: a pilot study

journal contribution
posted on 2015-03-02, 00:00 authored by E Prado, M. Maes, L G Piccoli, M Baracat, D S Barbosa, O Franco, Seetal DoddSeetal Dodd, Michael BerkMichael Berk, S O Vargas Nunes
Introduction N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) may have efficacy in treating tobacco use disorder (TUD) by reducing craving and smoking reward. This study examines whether treatment with NAC may have a clinical efficacy in the treatment of TUD. Methods A 12-week double blind randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare the clinical efficacy of NAC 3 g/day versus placebo. We recruited 34 outpatients with therapy resistant TUD concurrently treated with smoking-focused group behavioral therapy. Participants had assessments of daily cigarette use (primary outcome), exhaled carbon monoxide (COEXH) (secondary outcome), and quit rates as defined by COEXH<6 ppm. Depression was measured with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). Data were analyzed using conventional and modified intention-to-treat endpoint analyses. Results NAC treatment significantly reduced the daily number of cigarettes used (Δ mean±SD = -10.9 ± 7.9 in the NAC-treated versus -3.2 ± 6.1 in the placebo group) and COEXH (Δ mean± SD = -10.4 ± 8.6 ppm in the NAC-treated versus -1.5 ± 4.5 ppm in the placebo group); 47.1% of those treated with NAC versus 21.4% of placebo-treated patients were able to quit smoking as defined by COEXH<6 ppm. NAC treatment significantly reduced the HDRS score in patients with tobacco use disorder. Conclusions These data show that treatment with NAC may have a clinical efficacy in TUD. NAC combined with appropriate psychotherapy appears to be an efficient treatment option for TUD.



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Maney Publishing


Edinburgh, Scotland







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2015, Maney Publishing